It starts here.
In Canada, in BC, in Kelowna.
Global health is truly global. From talking to children in schools in Kelowna to organizing massive relief efforts in low-income countries. A lot goes into being a global citizen.
Many of us have done some wonderful work leading up to this practicum. We have taught Grade 3s and 6s in schools about global health and global citizenship. We have partnered with community organizations to lead programs for global education. We have developed sexual health resources to teach while in Zambia. We have partnered with international NGO Days for Girls to bring menstrual kits with us for young girls.
It starts here.
It is the understanding that what you can do for someone abroad is the same thing you can do for someone here. I have learned that over the past few years. When I first starting reading about global health years ago, I had the image in my head of saving lives and being a hero when I went overseas. I have learned that is not what it is about. It is saying you are just as important as those we care for at home. It is being a presence and building relationships. It is gaining a new perspective. It is teaching and it is learning. Just as we do at home.
And so off we go, and what we have started here will lead us there. And what we learn there will lead us at home.
I heard something in a meeting leading up to this experience that really struck me. In searching for her words to describe the work we do, Faye Karp spoke the phrase "Wherever we go, there we are." It is the perfect thing to describe global citizenship. As a person showing empathy for another person, you are there. So whether it is an assessment on a ward in a hospital here, or in a smile with a stranger on the street in Vancouver, or the touch of a hand with a colleague in Zambia, it rings true.
So off we go to be. And wherever we go, there we are.