Steps

Pablo Quezada Cortés - Senegal


August 26, 2016

Things to pack are spread over the room and, as a learned ritual, I start to open the baggages  and put them into place. The feeling has been always the same: excitement and nervousness come up together in a strange mix that leaves me with wonders and prospects. It is time to leave again the house, to say goodbye and to continue routes outside Chile. But, in this time, through different means.

Once I heard that new starts are usually difficult. Standing besides hopes and insecurities for future effects in the next decisions or actions, the first step will have the heavy weight of the doubt and the possible extension of time. In this case, I have known since a while what is going to be the new destination and purpose : being a Global Citizen Year's fellow this year, I will travel to Senegal in order to participate in a bridge-year experience based on overseas communitarian immersion and active social involvement, which aims to create transcultural bonds of mutual learning and understanding. 10 days in San Francisco for Pre- Departure training and 8 months in Senegal where I will have to learn French, a local language (Wolof, Pulaar or another local one) and be part of a local community through host residences and apprenticeship are elements that are waiting for me in this new adventure, being in total nearly 9 months of an intensive overseas immersion program.

However, what all those words means besides the general conceptualisation that they create? How do they can provide to consider to give a first step avoiding the doubts?

9 months. Nearly 9 months where the capacity of transcultural immersion and adaptability are going to be proven and deepened into a more pristine scenario. Through local language learning to seminars, from communitarian wok and social immersion, this program provides an opened experience where we can learn, grow and help within the training processes and with our future host communities. Instead to reflect a kind of assistance experience that round on the image of people helping disadvantage communities, this bridge year may show a scene where cooperation and mutual understanding are useful and beneficial for both sides. Both parts can share, learn and discover; there is an long learning road in which this experience depends in order to create something meaningful.

With that in mind, for me could be easy to find a reason to step forward. But rather than that, it makes me wonder what I can offer and what I can do. Understanding that the described scenarios will always depend in how someone wants to take this experience and they are not an intransigent norm, this thought constantly comes to take place meanwhile I'm doing my packing. At a certain point, I could say many thing more about that this adventure would be as past fellow's experiences may provide those words. But…

What can I offer in order to do the concrete step?

My hands are empty and my willingness to learn is one important value that I try to enhance. Certainly, the only things that I really have for this new project are those . The curiosity to seek other ways to approach knowledge and the compromise to develop a constructive experience are personal aims that I want to become possible and meaningful through this experience. I have a lot to learn, there is no doubt in that. Nevertheless, for this I count with those elements that I can offer and the humility to acknowledge that there is more than I can perceive right now from my current position.

At every piece of clothe and other objects, the baggage creates a pattern where everything falls into place. As this is taking form, the step is taking strength and developing determination. Uncertainties will remains and the doubts will continue to appear along the chosen road, but after the first step the following ones creates a wave that will introduce me into this journey once for all.

Pablo Quezada Cortés