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VOF Week 2: (Snakes and Ladders)


Where did the journey to the present start for me? There is no defining point, no day when the heavens opened up sent me a sign, it’s been much more like a bad game of snakes and ladders, with lots of downs and an occasional climbing of a ladder. There are a couple significant roles of the dice that have lead me towards Pulse Wire and guided me on my path and vision –a world where girls and women have choice and where inequality and discrimination are reduced.

When I was ten my father died.

Obviously it was a difficult time – probably the biggest snake of all in my life. It was subconscious for a while I am sure – but then I became aware of how I was behaving. I never wanted to miss an opportunity to do or try something new, I always tried to be happy and find the most positive aspect of all situations, and I really try to live everyday as if it was my last. I love life, for adventures and always trusting my gut. I understood that life can quickly be cut short, and I didn’t want to miss a second of it, and I wanted others to see and feel that too.

A big ladder in my life was when I took a chance, and made an opportunity happen – I went on a mission trip to Egypt to work on at an orphanage for a summer. I loved it, the physical work, the spiritual growth and the cross-cultural experience. It was as if something sparked in me and a small light was lit – a good rule of the dice. I love to travel, learn from others, experience new things. With few more snakes and ladders along the way, I have been lead to Bangladesh where I am currently volunteer teaching at an all women’s University.
Education has become by passion, I hope to live in a world where girls and women have the freedom to choose – their education, careers and goals. Watching my students raise their voices, articulate their opinions, and gain the confidence and capacity to become agents of change has inspired me. While I love to teach, expressing my opinions and new ideas in such a forum as Pulse Wire was something I would have never considered applying to because I was shy or embarrassed. But as I encourage my students – and tell them that they can do anything they want, be anything they want, and truly touch the sky – I finally asked myself, why not me? It was time to take another role of the dice, to put myself out there and become a part of a network of women that are the change.

As an educator I understand what an important tool creating dialogue between cultures, genders and ages is – that is something that Pulse Wire promotes and helps women build their capacity in – that is what I want to be part of.


gillian's picture

Very Inspiring!

It's funny how hard it can be sometimes to follow our own advice. I too find myself encouraging young women to pursue their dreams and take chances, while I shy away from risks I probably ought to take. Your words have inspired me, as imagine they have the young women you teach.

angela saunders's picture

Thank you...

Inspiring words can be so helpful, its incredible where a few encouraging words can take you. Thank you for yours!

nasima_7776's picture

It inspired me a LOT

It is always inspiring to know the views of a person who I admire. I really liked hearing your experiences before you came to the Access Academy. I can never pay you and all my teachers back for what they have done for the students of Asian University for Women. It is our teachers' passion what made us think positively, and know the world coming from a conservative world. Thank you so much........

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Ssss ssss....


Thank you for sharing your personal story. Of course, one cannot sum up the entirety of oneself in 500 words or less, but I really feel that I have a sense of the essence of you. And, I love the imagery of snakes and ladders. I am always coming up with new analogies and metaphors. I may just have to copy yours. All in all beautifully done.

I would love to know more about the spark that happened in Egypt. Did it have a taste? Smell? Sound? Image? Texture? My husband spent six months in Cairo and I know the experience had a profound impact on him.


p.s. I forgot to mention I am one of your evaluators for this week! :-)

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

angela saunders's picture


Hi Jennifer,

I do have a love for analogies and metaphors, and the funnier the better. The more creative the better! Please use the snakes and ladders, send it out to the world.

I don't think there was A spark, it was more like a fire. There was not just one thing that happened, it was really everything. I was terrified to leave, I will never forget the day I got on the school bus in Toronto with 50 people I did not know. I was 16, leaving home for pretty much the first time. I cried, I was so scared to leave my mom and aunt. Of course my mom gave me the out "you can stay if you want, it's okay". I knew I had to go though, not only had we paid $5000, but I would never forgive myself if I didn't go. About 13 seconds after I got on the bus I met a girl I am still friends with today, we connected and I knew I would be okay. We spent two weeks in Florida training (basically Christian boot camp - both for construction work and religious reasons. I really loved the challenge of it all, I loved meeting new people, and I couldn't wait to get to Egypt.

Once we arrived in Egypt, I was even more energized to do the job at hand. I can remember getting frustrated at the other volunteers who weren't putting maximum effort into the orphanage construction, I was always thinking "you came here to build an orphanage, now stop being lazy and build!!" It must have been a bit of the farm girl work ethic coming out in me. Over all what I loved most was the service part of it all. I love helping people. I love motivating people. And I realized it then, I got to see how people lived in another part of the world. The boys and girls in the orphanage lived in separate locations and didn't get to interact. I remember thinking how horrible that would be for me, because I have 4 brothers. But it really sparked my interested in cross-cultural learning (though I only identified this years later). I tried to understand the culture I was living in, if only briefly.

If I never went to Egypt, I may be where I am today, but it definitely would have been a different path. After I got home from Egypt almost 10 years ago (that makes me want to cry thinking about it – I’m getting old) I have wanted to go. I want to explore, help people, motivate and inspire, and 'change the world'. I have not lost alot of the positivism or optimism that I have always had, and I am still a tad too idealistic - but all of that combine with a little realism and I still do believe that I can continue to help improve someone else life. Whether it is building an orphanage, being a teacher or simply giving someone a hug, smile and attention when they need it. I can do that. I want to do that. And my trip to Egypt started all that.

Sometimes my mom and I joke that if she never would have suggested I go to Egypt kind of jokingly one day I might still be around her in Canada more. But, then we realize I wouldn't be doing what I am meant to do, and that wouldn't be okay.

Sigh, I digress from what happened in Egypt so quickly. But it is just that the trip to Egypt cannot be separate from the rest of my life anymore, it is all wound together.

And on that note, I must unwind myself and head to school.


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