After being home for a few weeks, and having talked my head off, I am now preparing for an EWB conference - 4 days (and nights) of thinking and discussing development amongst people who dedicate a large portion of their lives to making the world a better place.
Lets just say I'm taking the day off to watch movies and to be antisocial before it begins.
The one thing I've noticed is that everyone I have met-up with and spoken to is excited for me, and not one person has doubted my work. They believe in me and what I'm doing, and they want to help. Some have even given sizable donations. The kindness is overwhelming. I couldn't have asked for more.
Strangely, my work isnt the typical development work. I'm not going to build a school for 3 weeks, I'm not giving out cool new water filters, or shoe boxes, or medicine. I am working to allow people access to the benefits of globalization.
If I could put in point form what I want to say to everyone in Canada - about my last year in Zambia, it would be this.
- I am enjoying my time - the people are great, and I'm learning a lot.
- The world is connected - when the world stops buying copper, business in Zambia is directly affected. Internet looks the same no matter where you are in the world.
- Its not going to be easy, but there is hope, and I have seen progress.
The enthusiasm and sincerity of my friends & family really gives me hope. One person almost pleaded with me in asking what they could do - it just seems too complex of an issue, and too far away, and they couldnt see their way through the maize.
So for all of you who want to help, but dont know what to do.
I first recommned taking care of yourself.
Then I recommend clicking on guide below, which can explain how keeping your money at citizens bank is different than TD and BMO, and how you can better connect to the people who produced your food by purchasing fair trade products.
I worked with a team of people in Calgary to produce this little guide.http://calgary.ewb.ca/Files/TangibleAction08.pdf
I know learning hurts, but you definitely dont need to go overseas to make a difference.
Thanks again to everyone for all your support.
Random photo of Calgary