From the last week of June through to July 10th, I was traveling around a few different countries in Europe. My excursion began in Dublin, Ireland. I then flew into Bordeaux, France and stayed in the south of France for about a week. After that, I flew to Portugal and experienced all kinds of new things in Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais. I ended my trip looping back around to Ireland, this
time staying in Wicklow, for another handful of days. Most internships would not make it possible to be able to do any of this traveling. I was able to keep up with all of my assigned readings, webinars and most importantly, the group project I am currently working on with three other interns. For most of the month of June and now into July, the four of us have been brainstorming, outlining, researching and even interviewing with the goal of creating a finalized Market Research Plan. This research, in its conclusion, will elaborate on the demographics of Deaf Open World’s current support system as well as the market of donors that they have yet to pursue. During my weeks abroad, I was able to spend time with many friends and family that I do not often get to see. While talking to them, it became evident that almost every single one of them were unaware of the living conditions that the disabled population of The Kingdom endure. Everyone that I talked to was eager and interested to know more about DOW as whole, all that I have learned, and what have worked on. It was exciting to be able to fill everyone in and still have the capability to take time to myself to
read up on what the other interns have been doing, current events in Eswatini, marketing and public relations strategies specific to NGO/ nonprofit work, and various informative pieces constantly building my understanding on Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals. One day, I was sitting on the back porch of the Air BnB my family rented in France reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. I came across a quote that I immediately wrote down— “Dialogue cannot exist, however, in the absence of profound love for the world and for people. (…) Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause—the cause of liberation. (…) If I do not love the world—if I do not love life—if I do not love people—I cannot enter into dialogue.” (p. 89-90). Freire then goes on to expand on that point and argue that dialogue also cannot happen without humanity and immense faith in the human kind. Being in places that have a different first language than English (French and Portuguese) puts this concept of ‘love within dialogue’ into a very valuable perspective—communication is not defined by the way in which it is engaged as it can take so many forms, but rather, the people who are engaging in it.