As a previously fundraised worker, I appreciate your support through the remainder of this sojourning journey and transition season!
I have first spent time on European soil, Malta in particular, to gain exposure to the refugee crisis as experienced in a different way compared to working with refugees through resettlement programs in North America. In mid-April until mid-May, I shift to Crete, Greece, where I will be upgrading my vocational skills to hlep non-native English speakers learn English.
Recently shut and newly opened doors in Fall 2017 led me to begin a bit of sojourning myself. Over the years of working with the refugee community, I have heard stories upon stories and always knew one day I would see for myself-- and lend my ears, hands and heart to the displaced peoples throughout the world.
As a story-teller and an empathizer of those who have had to experience such displacement, I've always desired to be abroad again in some context and these recent years and connections have given me reason to travel.
I spent mid-February to early March in Rwanda, reuniting with a long-time love and best friend, Muzungu, who is finishing up his master's degree in Global Health Equity under UGHE .
In Malta, I have spent four weeks attempting to connect with various refugee communities here, but have found it very difficult, even with previously-known contacts who have lived and worked here in this country for a matter of years.
Malta is a small island, but is also its own country and belongs to the EU (European Union). Like Lesvos, Greece, it is receiving many refugees who are hitting the shores of Europe for the first time. So within it exists refugee camps, but also a lot of integrative work by NGO's to assist asylum seekers and refugees on their journey. However, the percentage of those actively advocating for justice and working integrateively, in relativity to the migrant population here, is quite small. The racism is huge here, and due to culture, history and politics, there are many stigmas toward the traveler, be they short-term tourists or long-term asylum-seekers or workers.
My heart, in coming here, was to gain experience and learn what the refugee crisis is looking in one of the many facets of the world where its quite vast, and to offer myself to assist or commune with and love people any way that I can. Exposure has been present, but not in the ways I anticipated. Connection to people has been so difficult. Read more about my time on my blog:
In mid-April, I will go back to Greece and transfer over to the island of Crete, Greece, where I will be taking a 4 week intensive program to become TEFL certified., April 23-May 18.
TEFL stands for "Teaching English as a Foreign Language". Becoming certified is comparable to becoming credentialed- but specificaly for teaching nonnative speakers. I will be studying through International TEFL Academy, an accredited program based out of Chicago. As one who is experienced in teaching, communicating cross-culturally and tutoring, this will be a significant investment (and one I've often dreamed of accomplishing) as I pave the way to be able to effectively work and minister both locally and internationally over years to come. There is a job market for persons with my education level and experience in over 100 countries worldwide after becoming certified.
My planned trip will last until mid June. There are a few different potential landing spots for me during that last month; much will depend on where the future is seeming to head. Please pray with me for direction!
$12,000, the campaign goal, is a number that encompasses the TOTAL budget for January through June 2018-- an estimate of $2,000 monthly. This number is inclusive of travel, insurance, cost of living, as well as a couple remaining bills back home, like student loans.
If you'd like to give a one-time gift or spontenaously over this course of time, everything helps! One-time donations can be made anytime through this campaign.