What does it mean for me to be an International Fellow with iLEAP?

iLEAP's 2011 Fellows after a class session about Organizational Traumas

As I am trying to summarize all the things that I have experienced so far, it is becoming harder and harder to describe. I have been thinking a lot about where my vision began: with one person, one heart, and one leader that joined a family in Seattle with the intention of making an impact on the global community.

I think the best way to start this is with a question that I received from one of the visitors from last Tuesday night’s speaker series event with iLEAP. What does it mean for me to be an International Fellow with iLEAP? I have had many responses to this pass through my mind but for some reason I didn’t pick the one that ‘I assume’ would be the good response. Now I decided to answer that question for myself and based on my time in the program, with the hope that someday that person will read it.

Being an international fellow of iLEAP means to recognize that I am holding the tension in the middle of the gap between what is the reality and what might be, serving for the common good in the work that I do in my country. Working with women who have no access to credit, Haitian immigrants, people with HIV/AIDS, and those who are living on less than $2 a day are a reflection of poverty and social inequality in my country. But for me, it is an incredible experience to see how people react with one opportunity in their hands, breaking themselves away from their bindings and proving me that real change is possible in their lives. And I was wondering, If this is possible in the lives of people, don’t you think this could happen in the systems and the infrastructure that have them oppressed?

I am an International Fellow of iLEAP, and for me this means to envision a better society, This means jumping  from the comfortable status quo to claim social justice and equality. Ít is the opportunity to improve my knowledge, acquire new techniques, and more, the confidence to believe and be a new generation of leaders who will do as much as possible to build a better-run global community. It is the constant process of transforming my intentions into reality.

At this point of the program I feel that my motivation and passion have been rejuvenated. I’ve been learning new concepts through the different sessions, guest speakers, and several visiting organizations involved with the development work. Also, I have met wonderful people who would like to join us in this path to serve others.

Ethical Leadership encouraged my heart to lead from the inside out and to understand leadership as a tool to practice justice for others. Reflective Practice exercises will help me in evaluating the systematic process for different options to create a new reality. Sessions about communications, collaboration, and philanthropy are helping me to see in the wonderful net of support that individuals and organizations are providing, connecting resources and partnering with grassroots organizations.

I have had the opportunity to visit so many places with my fellows, my host family and my friends from Seattle. Famous ones like Pike Market, Space Needle, Seattle Center, Rattlesnake Mountain, and museums have allowed me to understand a bit more not just the history of Seattle but also how to use the public transportation here. Through all this, I realized that this is very different than in my country. What I most like about this, is that people are able to leave their cars in a parking garage to use the public buses. I can’t describe to you how great this is!

I can keep going on of all the things that I am experiencing but I won’t have enough space. It doesn’t matter if the person who asked me about the meaning of being an international fellow reads this, I think the answer is most important for me in order to take action. There are too many things to learn in order to continue shaping this definition. I’m really looking forward for what is coming up in the final four weeks and I can’t wait to experience it!

 

My Intentions with iLEAP program and my time in Seattle

In one of the session with iLEAP I learned that intentions lead us to an adaptive and nimble leadership. Here I want to let you know some things that I intent and not intent to do while I’m here is Seattle.
I would like you to pray for me and for my intentions while I’m here, but to be more specific pray for me to be aware and follow the voice of God!
I intent :
  • To learn as much as I can with a mind and heart open.
  • To grow my leadership capacities to serve the poorest of the poor of my country.
  • To have more confident on how communicate with english speakers.
  • To grow alongside my fellows community and support them with all I have (with my skills, values and talents).
  • To look at the humor in each situation, avoid taking things too seriously, have fun
  • To allow myself to make mistakes but to also to learn from them understanding that this is part of the learning process.
  • To get to know new people, meet with my friends here, going out with my fellows to learn about interesting places here in Seattle y mucho mas.
I intent to not:
  • Sentirme superior o inferior que mis fellows dentro del programa.
  • Creer que ya lo se todo porque aun hay mucho por conocer y aprender.
  • Sentir ansiedad por saber lo que esta pasando con mi familia y ycon mi trabajo mientras estoy aqui.
  • Sentir miedo de lo que pasara conmigo despues de mi tiempo aqui en Seattle.
  • Creer que las personas no tienen el poder de cambiar los sistemas e infraestructura que mantienen oprimidos a los mas vulnerables de nuestra sociedad.
  • Y por ultimo y no menos importante, yo no intento creer que crear una COMUNIDAD GLOBAL es algo imposible.
““Intent is not a thought, or an object, or a wish. Intent is what can make a man succeed when his thoughts tell him that he is defeated. It operates in spite of the warrior’s indulgence. Intent is what makes him invulnerable.”” Carlos Castanedas

The Rainy City!

Some of my lovely Spanglish fellows and one of our dearest host mother.!

Time flies, we have already been here two weeks. Yikes!!! Since I got here the green side of Seattle captured my attention and I was wondering why they have too many green and beautiful trees. Well, I got a logical answer from someone: “…because there’s so much rain”.  Oh, right! I’ve been lucky because during the last couples of weeks I have enjoyed the beautiful sunny days, without any humidity but only fresh air. As every good thing comes to an end, today I experienced my first rain when I was at the farmers market with my host mother. Since I noticed that it was raining  I start running to not get wet. Then I said to myself “Patricia, welcome to the rainy city”. Even if it is a rainy city it is a wonderful place to live. I’ve been very impressed with the diversity of places and people you can find here.

I am with the sweetest family here in Seattle. I am really enjoying my time with them and getting to know a little bit more about the American culture. I cannot avoid thinking about how different are the things back in my country. We are having blast learning from each other. My Spanish classes for Juanito (my young host brother) and Don (my host father) began last week. Susan (my host mother) and Chris (my oldest host brother) already know a bit so we are just practicing as much as we can.

These past two weeks have been a good time for me, not just to offer my hungry and passionate desire to learn with an open heart and an open mind, but also to share with others my work experiences, my story, and my culture. Getting to know the iLEAP staff and my fellows has been an incredible experience. I think day by day we are becoming a family – or more than that we are building our community to serve a global community. I love the innovative way in which this program was designed and I think the iLEAP staff has done a great job selecting social leaders from different backgrounds that will help us to gain a better idea on development work around the world. Me encantan mis fellows and the work they do for the common good. The interactions with leaders of social change from Seattle that we have met have deeply inspired and given me hope to see the things with different glasses.

I feel so blessed and grateful for having the chance to be here in this experience. One of my intentions is to enjoy every single moment. I feel like this experience is empowering more to continue looking for different ways to build a global community.

I know that we will have a lot of rain during the next eight weeks but I also know that alongside of that, there still are so many things to come and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them!

Yes!!! We made it!!!!

Thank you so much!!!!!

I’m so happy to let you know that thanks to your help I have raised $2,575.00 for my fellowship here in Seattle. I think I was pretty close to my goal but I made it thanks to all of you! I am grateful for all my friends, (those living out of Santo Domingo but also my closest ones) for taking the time to pray for me, for believing in me, and to support me in this incredible adventure!

I’m having a great time here and I would love to keep you all updated in what’s happening. 🙂 Please keep visiting this blog I will try to have a post at least once a week.

God bless you!

Estoy muy contenta de comunicarles que gracias a su apoyo he recaudado $2,575 y aunque falto poco para cumplir la meta creo que estuve muy cerca y lo logre gracias a ustedes!!!!!! Aprecio mucho que todos mis amigos, familiares y aun a aquellos que hicieron su donación anónima por tomar el tiempo para orar por mí, por creer en mí y también por apoyarme en esta aventura increíble.

Me encantaría mantenerte actualizado acerca de lo que está pasando conmigo aquí. J Por favor mantente visitando este blog y tratare de publicar algo por lo menos una vez a la semana.

Dios te bendiga!

Lista de donantes /Donor list 🙂

Esther Chou,Liz Poulin, Analin J. Saturria, Kari Ahlschwede, Rachael Miller, Samuel Sena, Elizabeth DeBardeleben, Becca Fritze, Carlos Gomez-Silva, Vicky Comella Valle, Yunarys Ferreira, Daniel R Masiello, Brian Buwalda, Rafael N Sena C, Deidania Cerda, Luz Patricia Cerda, Rosa Cespedes, Marisa Bustillo, Shane Manciagli, Anonymous Donor, Ivelisse Rosario, Lisette Escanio deMoquete, Anonymous Donor, Anonymous Donor, Anonymous Donor, Zoe Estel Castro Gonzalez,

Primer fin de semana en Seattle :)

Britt Yamamoto y yo, despues del lazamiento de la primera bola!

El viernes llegue a Seattle a las 9:30 a.m. media hora antes de lo previsto. Después de más de 7 horas de vuelo desde New Jersey hasta Seattle estuve  exhausta! Gracias a Dios el clima aquí en Seattle esta perfecto  día muy soleado pero sin la incomparable humedad que hay en Santo Domingo.  Creo que he traído conmigo el sol caribeño y los pronósticos dicen que se quedara por dos semanas y quién sabe, quizás durante todo el otoño!

Dave Valle (el fundador de Esperanza) fue a buscarme al aeropuerto para traerme a su casa y compartir con su familia durante este fin de semana.  Hasta ahora he disfrutado de un tiempo fantástico, hemos hablado de muchos temas, tanto en ingles como en español, he conocido amigos de Alina (su hija menor), pude compartir con Stephanie y su madre Maria  fue muuuuy divertido, Vicky (su esposa y co-fundadora de Esperanza) me llevo al salón para arreglar mi pelo (Quedo como yo no lo esperaba, me encanto!!!) y en la noche tuve la oportunidad de visitar por primera vez un estadio de beisbol en los Estados Unidos.

Esperanza, en alianza con Seattle International Foundation (SIF) lanzo hoy la campaña de levantamiento de fondos a través del envió de mensajes de textos. Con la palabra “HOPE” al 80000 estarás donando $10.00 para apoyar el trabajo que Esperanza hace en la Republica Dominicana y Haiti. http://www.seaif.org/sections/news/SIFLaunchesTextMessageCampaignBenefitingEsperanza.asp

Este lanzamiento de esta campana fue combinado con la noche latinoamericana del juego de los Marineros de Seattle y los Royals. Alguien que represente Esperanza y a la cultura latina debía hacer el primer lanzamiento. Adivinen quien lo hizo??? Pues yo!!!!

Al principio no sabía que iba a ser tan importante, estuve un poco nerviosa desde que me entere que iba a hacer este lanzamiento pero no pensé que sería para tanto. Ha?!?!?! La cosa es que desde que llegamos casi todo el mundo sabía que yo iba a hacer el lanzamiento, ( o al menos a las que fui introducida) porque ya the SIF había preparado una nota de prensa con mi nombre incluido. Bueno, cuando Vicky y yo llegamos al estadio , Dave nos recibió y Ayayayayyayyy!!!!!, Dave is very famous here and I didn’t know it how much. Everyone know him and they were dying to take a picture with him or to get his autograph, he also knows everyone here too.

Okay, pero para llegar al punto, la cosa es que desde que llegamos pasamos al campo de juego  y de repente muchas cámaras empezaron a salir y tomar muchas fotos.  Al principio fue un poco weird pero como dominicana al fin, como no me van a gustar las fotos y las cámaras???? Después de conocer tanta gente y tomar tantas fotos tuve la oportunidad de demostrar que tan dominicana soy al lanzar la primera bola para iniciar el juego y que creen que paso???  Camine hacia el lugar del lanzamiento con bola en mano, mire fijamente los ojos de la cátcher  (receptor) y con mucha fuerza y consistencia lanze una curva!!!! Fue increíble and fun!!!!

Pero eso no es todo, después de ahí tuve la oportunidad de anunciar la campana en una estación de radio latina, y conocí a un simpático puertorriqueño quien me realizo la entrevista. Fue muy sencillo y aunque estuve nerviosa creo que el mensaje fue claro que es lo que importa.

Estoy muy, muy, muy emocionada de estar aquí y tener este tiempo con el programa de ileap. Mi meta general es solo abrir mi mente y corazón, aprender lo mas que pueda, disfrutar mi tiempo aquí, conocer muchas personas y sus historias, compartir mi historia, mi cultura, mi idioma  y más que nada, crecer y conocer más formas de cómo contribuir para el reino de Dios y para mi país.

Manana domingo, en la tarde,  conocere por fin a mi host family e ire con ellos a su iglesia. Solo los he visto por foto pero es una familia de cuatro miembros (pareja de esposos y dos ninos, 16 y 14 anos). Aunque no les conozco en persona estoy muy contenta de pasar con ellos estas 10 semanas.

Sigo agradeciendo por sus oraciones y por todo su apoyo! El que este aquí no quiere decir que no extraño mi arroz, habichuelas y carne, si lo extraño mucho ya que tengo mas de 3 dias sin saborear mi comida dominicana. Cuando no la tengo, es como sino hubiese comido nada.

Bueno, esto es todo por hoy…. Ahora a dormir!

Gnight!

Me gusto mucho:

  • Que Seattle es una ciudad muy verde y limpia para disfrutar y las personas son muy amables.
  • Lanzar la primera bola para iniciar el juego.
  • Hablar para una estación de radio en español acerca de Esperanza.
  • Conocer más personas.
  • Todas las fotos tomadas.

No me gusto mucho:

  •  El sándwich en el play.
  • Los Marineros de Seattle perdieron.
  • Llegue muy cansada.

Sorpresa del día:

Encontrar a Britt Yamamoto, Director Ejecutivo de ileap, en el campo de baseball 🙂

Meeting new people:

A través de Alina conoci a Olivia, Rayan (un hindú, no recuerdo como escribir su nombre) sus padres y sus dos  hermosas hermanitas, Britt Yamamoto (Director Ejecutivo de ileap), Eric Becker y muchas personas más pero no recuerdo sus nombres.

Hola a todos!

The purpose of this blog is just to try to tell my experiences during my time in Seattle from September-November 2011 with http://www.ileap.org. Even though I’m not good at writing I promise you that I will do my best to keep you update!

This is my first post on this blog I wish it could be in one language but unfortunately it will be in three: Spanish, English and Spanglish. 🙂

This is a quick note just to report that I got safe to the New Jersey. Now I am enjoying a few days with my sister and her family in Perth Amboy, the small town where they live. Es muy tranquilo y gracias a Dios por aqui la tormenta no afecto tanto.

I will be here in NJ until tomorrow and Friday morning (5:00 a.m) I will be flying out to Seattle. To begin my adventure!!!!! I’m SO excited!

See you soon!