For every native of every place is a potential tourist, and every tourist is a native of somewhere. Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this. Every native would like to find a way out, every native would like a rest, every native would like a tour. But some natives-most natives in the world-cannot go anywhere. They are too poor. They are too poor to go anywhere. They are too poor to escape the reality of their lives; and they are too poor to live properly in the place where they live, which is the very place you, the tourist, want to go—so when the natives see you, the tourist, they envy you, they envy your ability to leave your own banality and boredom, they envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself.Jamaica Kincaid
Kincaid’s words remind me of my own privilege to tour, to be a tourist, to leave the routine of my every day and dive into the many opportunities that traveling offers. I am also reminded of friends and family who also travel easily to various parts of the world and either relax and escape their homelands, their jobs, their everyday or those who travel to learn and transform through seeing and experiencing other cultures, religions, ways of life that are not familiar. Travelling is an opportunity to experience the world as a classroom, as a means of expanding consciousness and transforming perspective. For the past 10 years I have coordinated and facilitated one of these world classrooms through the service learning program at St. Francis Xavier University. Students come to Grenada for their reading week and embark on a personal journey of leaning and unlearning new and old ways of seeing the world. One of the topics that surfaces each year is privilege; how privilege works and what are the factors that contribute to the various privileges that we hold. The opportunity to travel, to be a tourist, to tour, to learn, to escape one’s own life is examined in the context of this privilege.
Last year with the help of many friends and family we raised funds needed to sponsor one of the village youths, Alison Harris to take part in a privilege many of us take for granted. We raised enough money so Alison could take a tour to Canada, to Nova Scotia, to Antigonish, Halifax, and Tatamagouche and take part in various educational and leadership programs. Another funding initiative is on its way, this time to raise funds for Kayla George, a Grenadian youth who is also interested in travelling to Canada and taking part in various youth empowerment and leadership programs such as the Tatamagouche Social Justice Youth Camp and Peaceful Schools International Camp. Kayla has been a big part of my life for the past 16years. I was not only honoured to welcome her into the world the day she was born 16 years ago but I was also honoured with the role of god mother. Kayla’s story is a complicated one, one that deserves a story all to itself and not just a paragraph in this blog. Her story reflects the difficulties many young Grenadian women who come from a cyclical environment of violence poverty and oppression go through. Her story now has a potential chapter in travel, a chapter in finding new paths, a chapter in dealing with old story lines with new tools, a chapter in simply taking a rest from a hard life for a few weeks, a chapter in self-perseverance.
We need to raise a total of $2000 cnd which will cover camp fees and flight expenses for Kayla. Kayla is also working on a fund raising plan and hopes to approach the Grenada Rotary Club and her church for donations. She is also going to make and sell damsel stew and tamarind balls at the Village Community Centre.
Any amount you would like to donate is a blessing! Feel free to ask your family and friends for small contribution as well! Colleen Cameron is Kayla’s’s official Nova Scotian Host and Donations Coordinator. If you are in Canada or outside of Canada you can send check or money order to Colleen Cameron 61 Brookland Street, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, B2G 1V8. Please make check payable to Maureen Ryan-St. Clair or Maureen St. Clair. And if you are in Grenada please send check or monetary donations to Maureen St.Clair Harford Village, St. Andrew’s, Grenada, West Indies or give me a call 473 442 8296.( i will be on the island until july 3rd,2011)
Any means of spreading this blog posting would be appreciated. I am not very up on social networking scene but I am told face book is a reliable way of spreading messages. Please post on your facebook!
I would like to give a big shout out to past St. FX service learning participants who rallied together and raised majority of funds for Alison’s trip! Also not forgetting friends and family who also contributed their time, money and overall love to support this endeavour!
Deep gratitude and appreciation to all of you! I am honored to once again witness the crossing of bridges, the meeting and sharing of one people, one family, one love!!!