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The Kindness of Strangers

This week’s assignment sounds like my mom asking “What are you doing with your life? You will wake up in your 30s and realize you have nothing!” These are some seemingly harsh words from my mom, especially since I turn 30 next year April! The thing is, my vision for life is different from the vision she has for me. Her vision for me may be similar to the vision society has for me “be a good student, get a good job, marry, take one vacation a year, retire, die” all in all play by the rules and follow the status quo.

My vision for me is one of greatness, one of flexibility and always evolving and I believe I am putting those steps in place to accomplish this. In my Caribbean society, it is common for young people to still live at home whereas our American and European counterparts move out from early. While I play into that status quo and still live at home, I do own my own house and apartment which I rent out to tenants to cover the mortgage. See – I told you, I play by the rules – but then I add my twist to it. I had what society considered a “good job” – but my brain was dying, I worked there for 2 years, then I “fired my boss” … joined the organization as a member, and got elected on to the Board. Yes, I am now the boss of that “boss I fired”. Clearly, I like doing things that no one else really thought about doing just to see if they can be done. I work as a freelance consultant on different projects and recently opened a firm here in Barbados – an extension of a firm already in Trinidad for the last 15 years.

My vision for my life will affect my community and the world. I am a mentor right now for programs in Entrepreneurship in the high schools across the island, I am on the Advisory Council for the Barbados Youth Development Council – I like to share information and opportunities. I never hold on to stuff for myself, I would prefer 100 of my friends and acquaintances apply for an opportunity and “compete” against me and one of us get it, then I hold on to it and submit on my own and lose out to someone not in my circles at all! I am always volunteering in my community and as I strengthen my brand across the island of Barbados and the region – I do feel like a big fish in a small pond and I am looking to migrate to another country to continue developing myself and make an impact on a global scale. I have traveled extensively and have already done some work in Ghana with a Canadian non-governmental organization and I will continue to work on behalf of persons who have not had as much opportunities as I have…

Why do I want to be a VOF Correspondent? When I first heard about this program as I mentioned in an earlier post – I applied because this is what I do – I apply for things! I like the process of applying, of competing and of putting myself out there to be judged! If selected, then I get to learn something new about myself as well as the program that I am in. With World Pulse, I have always had aspirations of writing something – a book, a novella, something … perhaps this opportunity if it is meant to be will be what opens the doorways for me. I have published some articles in different magazines but I think I need the push, the next step … writing will allow me to continue doing what I do, being free, sharing my story and the story of others – and most importantly documenting it in a strategic way rather than simply emails home back to friends and family! I’ve already achieved part of my vision – believing once again in the kindness of strangers who have posted and shared from their hearts!

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Farona's picture

LOL my mom would say the same

LOL my mom would say the same but with her own twist - " what will do in life if you are ( the list goes on ) if you....etc !!!
I can relate a lot with your post ! why have not I came across your post before !
Like you, I do a lot of 'applying' too - and luckily I manage to secure a lot of those 'applications' . I love exploring, opportunities is one of them !

"Clearly, I like doing things that no one else really thought about doing just to see if they can be done." Sound like my kinda girl ! Do hope to read from you more

Kind-essssst regards !

Daydri's picture

you go girl

love your spirit of defiance and action
you're getting there - a 'there' of your own making
wow
(and you're not 30 yet!)

d*

The Afrika way's picture

....and there is no stopping

....and there is no stopping you. You are truly moving out....you have achieved so much in life already, and the important part is that you are happy doing what you do, helping others, and sharing your passion and defiance...

Love,

Grace

Leelee's picture

Thanks

For the comments and feedback - I always feel so warm and secure when I log on to this space, like drawing energy from what I read and learn and being nourished by the support I am receiving!

'Harlem: A Dream Deferred' - Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

Lisa T's picture

Comments

Leelee,

I enjoyed reading your journal entry. I think your voice really comes through on this piece. You do a good job of articulating your work in your community. I was wanting to know a little bit more about the work you do in Ghana. What kind of work does the Canadian non-profit do? Also, in your work with the Youth Development Council, I was wanting to know a little bit more about the specific issues you deal with. I was also wanting to know more about your specific goals and what kinds of experiences and stories you see yourself sharing through Voices of Our Future.

Thank you for sharing!

Sincerely,
Lisa

Leelee's picture

Hi Lisa, thank you for your

Hi Lisa, thank you for your comments. I did work through Youth Challenge International - www.yci.org so have a look at their site as they cover a lot of various development projects. When I was out there with two other young persons, we were based in a Vocational School and we did workshops on Sexual Health, Gender Issues, Active Citizenship and Job Skills (Entrepreneurship, CV Writing and Customer Service) ... we also did Interview Skills training with the staff. Basically, the YCI in-country team meets with the partners to determine what their needs are and then the team of volunteers are assigned these roles based on their skills etc. So at least we are bridging the gap and not just going in blindly doing sessions on topic A when they really want training on topic B ... YCI is great because they offer scholarships so it really helps with your costs to go where you want to, and you received a stipend of about US$15 a day which is usually more than enough to live off!

The Barbados Youth Development Council is one of the most active youth NGOs in the Caribbean and I dare say the Commonwealth. Their Facebook link page is: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=7320566723

I am on the Advisory Committee for this organisation and basically any youth agencies in Barbados can fall under the BYDC. Some of the projects right now are I-Volunteer (mobilising the youth of Barbados to be engaged more in volunteerism), Protect the Children, a program which is about to be launched, looking at sexual abuse in children in Barbados and lobbying the Government to implement legislation in this field, Youth Forums where current issues such as censorship, music etc. are debated in a youth friendly space ...

I hope I answered most of your questions and if there is anything else please let me know ...

Leelee

'Harlem: A Dream Deferred' - Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

In reading your piece, Leelee, your entrepreneurial spirit and drive shines through.

I was particularly moved by the eloquent description of your personal vision being "one of greatness, of flexibility and always evolving".

I hope that you continue to be surrounded by evidence of the "kindness of strangers" and achieve your writing aspirations.

Keep up the great work!

Catherine

Leelee's picture

Thank you Catherine, it is

Thank you Catherine, it is never easy but encouragement like this always helps!

'Harlem: A Dream Deferred' - Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

ShukThi's picture

Leelee

Thank you for sharing your vision with World Pulse. Best of luck in achieving it.

ShukThi

Leelee's picture

Thank you ShukThi!

Thank you ShukThi!

'Harlem: A Dream Deferred' - Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

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