July 31: Pre-departure Training (Pre-dep!)

I went into pre-departure quite tired and unsure of what we would be doing or talking about and left feeling more energized than I had in a long time, like I had more clarity and a lot more questions than answers!

First for those who are not familiar with EWB, pre-dep is a mandatory 1 week training for all fellows held in Toronto right before you depart. I was lucky to be with 8 fantastic people who made the experience what it was. We enjoyed a lot of great conversations, meals, debates, laughs, even a tear or two.

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So what were we talking about? I would break it into 3 main topics: development, health/wellness/safety, and ourselves. Development is a super broad term that encompasses a lot of different ideas and approaches which range from ingenious to actually harmful. We spent time learning about both so we can make a better impact on our placements. Health, wellness, and safety was necessary as we are heading into new cultures, may be far away from reliable health services and will be at risk to a large variety of illnesses. And finally ourselves, and our personal growth, the one topic I was not expecting to cover this week yet had the biggest impact for me, because I have been thinking about a lot of possibilities for my life and career. These sessions helped me strip down my ideas and *start* building them back up again in a more positive and aggressive way! Feel free to message me by email or facebook if you want to talk more about this!

One of my favorite activities was the question and answer period with the brand new CEO of EWB. He took a lot of his time to sit down with us and answer some of our toughest questions like ‘should EWB be renamed?’, ‘how can we reduce fundraising stress?’, and ‘how can we make the chapters more engaged?’. It feels pretty special to have the undivided attention of the CEO of EWB for a WHOLE evening (magic takes time)!

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After pre-departure training I headed back to Winnipeg for a wedding and surprised even myself by being ready for my long anticipated hair donation to Locks of Love (http://www.locksoflove.org/).

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And with that I am off to Malawi. Look forward to a lot more trip and work related details in the coming posts!

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