Amanda Alderman/SMTS Quality Engineering/Vancouver/Goal: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to… lol joking J
V2I and David Alston came to the Saint John office and gave an overview of their work in Uganda and it was really inspiring. I kept in touch over time and saw how their areas of focus expanded and was really excited to be able to be involved.
I think my favorite part is that V2I really has learned from their past experiences and is committed to helping communities solve problems in sustainable ways. I like that the main goal is to make sure that any projects worked on will continue without us. This really makes you feel like you’re contributing to something lasting for the community.
Honestly, I’d say the most rewarding part of the experience has been that it didn’t just end when the trip ended. I love hearing about the other trips and opportunities even if I don’t get to go on them. I am really glad that things like the story workshop and updates on our trip are provided and keep you in touch and involved with what’s going on. Fadi often says we’re part of the family now and that is really what it feels like.
On the trip itself, the most rewarding experience was getting to know a few people, having an insight into their daily lives, and seeing people give so much to their local community, especially like Anugrah. It was so much more enlightening than just being a tourist. I feel a lot more connected to India from having met people there than I think I would have doing a tour and keeping in touch with other random tourists. Also, building a relationship with the people that came on the trip who had similar goals was also really rewarding.
It’s certainly helped to open my mind to the idea of poverty and to think about what poverty really is rather than just ingesting the message of poverty that’s sold to me by media, society, etc. I honestly think that the influence from working with V2I is ongoing and will have a long lasting impact on my life in a way that I cannot yet articulate.
Again I’d say the biggest lesson was that there are different ways to help communities. Also that while going somewhere and building a school or something isn’t bad, it might not be the best way to help the community. I think it’s really helped me to look deeper at what kind of contribution I want to make. It’s definitely changed my perspective on the types of trips or what organizations I will contribute to in the future.