The Land of A Thousand Hills

The Land of A Thousand Hills
A Landscape of Rwanda

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bio: Katie Morrisette

        Hey there! My name is Katie Morrisette and I am a senior at Keene State College, double majoring in Early Childhood Education and Sociology. I am beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity to travel to the beautiful country of Rwanda. I could not ask for a better group of students and Professor to go with!
        My group has worked extremely hard to make this trip a reality. We are so thankful to everyone who has been involved in supporting our goals. Dr. Therese Seibert has been incredible, going above and beyond her duty to support our needs and to prepare us as we enter a completely new culture. We are so thankful for those who donated money and materials, such as textbooks, medical, and school supplies for our service work abroad. Your generosity is greatly appreciated! I am so excited to volunteer at a primary school in Butare, as well as at a Girls' and Boys' Orphanage.
        This trip is really going to change the way I view the world. Living in the United States, we take a lot of things for granted; things we do not think about such as access to water, food, shelter, and education. The United States is very fast paced and I feel like I am always on the go here. It will be really interesting and eye opening to experience a completely different culture from my own, where work and material prosperity is not everything. Genocide is not a topic that you can fully understand or relate to out of a textbook, you really need to talk with the people that the tragedy affected. It will be compelling to learn not only about the origins of conflict, but how their society was rebuilt and reconciled after the event.
          I am nervous about this upcoming trip, because I am stepping out of my comfort zone and entering unfamiliar territory, where I cannot speak the language or relate to the culture. However, traveling around the world will give me a unique cultural perspective that I cannot gain from staying in one place. Traveling will allow me to become globally engaged and will help me become a better educator. As a future early childhood educator, my main job will be socializing our youth. I am committed to understanding different backgrounds and establishing a culturally sensitive classroom environment. My hopes for this trip will be learning how to teach and embrace cultural diversity and how to teach children to respect individual group identity. During our time in Rwanda we are going to be taking a 2 week course, sponsored by Never Again Rwanda (NAR), which is a human rights and peace-building organization that was established in response to the 1994 genocide. The Peacebuilding Institute's main focus on social justice, conflict resolution, and reconciliation will support my academic and career goals towards providing education on tolerance towards diversity. In the fall, I hope to be teaching at a primary school and I plan to teach internationally during the summer. Thank you for your interest as we venture on this trip of a lifetime.


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