In all corners of the earth you can find small groups of strong, passionate, hard-working women who have the capacity and determination to change the world around them. It the corner of regional kerela, many women come together to grow, learn and develop together as a means of moving beyond poverty. The women feature below have found ways to do this through farming, sewing, and micro-financing. In the small time i spent with these women, i learnt more about progressive and effective development than any university textbook could teach. For that, i am eternally greatful.
Who says student's don't need a bit of a break every now and then too?
everybody has a long, deep and human story. perhaps you'll see a glimpse of these tales in the faces below.
the back waters of kerela are a special and vibrant place
Had things gone to plan, Kate and myself would have found ourselves in a nice riverside cottage for two days before beginning on the journey below. Why this initial getaway didn't occur is a separate story in itself (one that involves much stress and frustration), but the important factor is we eventually were able to join our class in angamaly, kerela, in india and spend the following weeks learning deeply about the diversity of social work practice, observing the compassion, and enthusiasm for development in kerela and building relationships with some of the most wonderfully kind and generous social worker students i've ever met.
The Chief is no walk in the park. It gives participants three options, a walk to summit one, two, or three. We collectively decided to tackle summit two. From what we could see on the map, it had the broadest viewpoint. Somehow along the way, Tim took a wrong turn and ended up on summit one. We waved him from the other mount (see image below). As we headed back, Sam and I thought "why can't we do both?", and decided to take a rather steep cliff-face shortcut that got us to Tim on summit one. So we joined forces and walked down down the other mount. Unsurprisingly it was wildly hot, so we stopped for a quick dip afterward.
Vancouver is a peaceful city.
There's nothing too exciting about these photos, just your everyday run of the mill plane photos really. But what is exciting is the events that took place leading up to this flight... It all started with crossing the American border on our way back from Vancouver, a seemingly normal venture that included a slight hiccup with Clare's passport not getting stamped when she first arrived, meaning instead of just driving through we had to get out of the car and blah blah blah. This meant that instead of taking our passports back from the front of the car, we each did so as we remembered. With the joys of unforeseen traffic came the lot of us rushing like madmen to unload the car, drop it off to the rental company and then catch our flight. We'd also heard that the security lines for flights in America were super long, so we starting to stress a little. Sam and Tim eventually arrived back after dropping the car off, to realise that Tim had not grabbed his passport from the front of the car (like we all assumed he had). With the clock ticking this meant Tim had to get a taxi back to the rental company, grab his passport and get the flight - which we already ourselves were worried about missing. We collectively decided that we'd go on without him, better only one person have to get a new flight then us all right? Once finally through security, i ran ahead just to check if the flight had started boarding yet (the board had said it hadn't). The departure area was almost empty, which made me immediately freak out. They were still boarding, but time was slipping away. We stood out the front of the departure gate hoping that maybe we could stall for Tim, or at least drag it out as long as possible. By this point, we'd all given up hope that Tim was going to make it. We had literally only just got there and he still had to get through security. I took one last look down the hallway, to see Tim running for his life toward us.
He'd bloody made it. No flight has ever felt as rewarding as that one.
Our last days in Alaska were by far the kookiest. On our way to Talkeetna, we drove by an incredible old igloo building, which most definitely hadn't been used in a long while. The windows were boarded up and i'm sure it wasn't glowing white like it used to. There was actually a small hole to get inside, but it looked terrifying inside, so none of us did. As we drove on we finally reached Talkeetna, a town whose major is a cat. Yes, an actual pet cat (google it if you don't believe me). We spent a lot of time hanging by the river, in which we nearly lost our only key to our rental car. I also discovered that Claire is a ping pong queen.
There's a lot to see inside six million acres of national park.