It took me a while to find my voice in Nicaragua. In a group of 23 leaders, it was difficult to feel like I had a say or could sway an opinion. We had a few group members who were obviously born to be leaders; They had strong, confident and inclusive personalities that made everyone feel heard. I have always found that when no one is willing to step up and take a lead, I will happily take on the role. However, with so many people eager to fill that position, I was finding it hard to speak up. Throughout the week I began to remember that I was chosen to take part in this GCELE for a reason. I grew more confident as the week went on, and began to feel more comfortable speaking up and working as a leader. I remembered that I am a good public speaker, and fortunately, I had plenty of opportunities to use that skill on this trip. It was very rewarding to collaborate with all of the unique and inspiring personalities involved with this GCELE, and we all had a chance to merge as leaders throughout the week. Despite all of our different leadership styles, we worked together and taught our health initiatives successfully. Not only were we able to help a community, we were also able to grow as a group and as individuals.
- Amy Mepham, Nicaragua 2015
I have been in Costa Rica for more than a month now, and still have three more weeks left. How time flies! I’ve done some hiking, tons of walking, and some crazy rides so far. The views are absolutely breathtaking from 360 degree. Since it’s the wet season now, fogs and drizzles will always stream in late in the afternoon. You’ll find yourself literally walking on clouds. How magical! My favourite pastime is having a cup of freshly brewed coffee, quilting at the studio, and looking at the fog engulfing the mountains, kissing my skin, tasting the cooling vapour, and inhaling the fresh air rushing through my lungs. Ah, happiness! It’s my first time making a “video” video not a photo video.
Hope you’ll enjoy!
Created July 2015
Music “Now We Are Free” by Kelly Sweet
I knew that going to a new country and communicating with a language barrier would be a challenge. I will admit that I was worried about it. How am I going to connect with them? How will we build a relationship if we don’t understand each other? I wasn’t too anxious about it, but these thoughts were certainly on the back of my mind.
To my surprise, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had imagined! We did have the help of translators when we were presenting health information to a group but for one on one things we often did it by ourselves. It was a very interesting and enlightening experience because for the first time in my life, I was listening with my eyes. People would explain their body aches and pains and instead of listening to the words they used, I was listening to how they told their story, when they used inflictions to emphasize a point, or when they used gestures to explain that something was important. I have always been a good listener but I have never consciously noticed how much people speak with their bodies. Through these expressions, gestures and varying tones of voice I was able to understand what was being said to me, as well as communicate back. By the end of the trip I had learned tons of techniques for communicating across a language barrier, and realized that I had nothing to worry about in the first place.
- Amy Mepham, Nicaragua 2015