(Is the song stuck in your head now?)
I’ve been writing for approximately one minute and I’m already sidetracked (by pop songs and memes no less, WHAT HAVE I BECOME?!)
When my plane finally took off, I was nervous…would this engine work?
haha. ha. ha. ha.
Really, I was too exhausted to be nervous. And despite the technical difficulties of the day prior, planes still didn’t scare me. The nerves were probably more of an upon landing thing.
Why? I mean, just two nights before I had been dancing and singing my heart out to burn off some excited energy.
(We tell no one of this, okay? It’s our little secret. Which is now on Youtube AND Facebook, so it’s a technological age kind of secret.)
All the other students in my program (the whole whopping four of them) had had AN ENTIRE DAY to bond without me. Therefore they MUST have come to the only logical decision: Hate me. (Admittedly, this was a dramatic fear, as were all others I had pertaining to this trip.)
Naturally they turned out to be the most amazing humans in the whole wide world and we’re like one dysfunctional family.
Last week they did tell me that they had talked about me before I got here, they were trying to guess what I was like. They guessed I would be short (?) and quirky.
They were half right.
They forgot crazy though.
So today I am grateful for my four new friends, our poor teacher who has to put up with our inability to shut up, and our Icelandic teacher who also has to deal with us…but doesn’t have to live in the same house.
We’re not good at being normal, so here’s a picture of us in our natural (and post hiking) state).
To Angelica (who we call Goldie)–Thank you for showing us the depth of your love of nature, your quest for knowledge, excited squeals at anything even remotely romantic, and for always being the first one to completely cover yourself in mud/dirt. But mostly, thank you for being such a strong force that will surely change the world.
To Alex (who we call by her last name, Webb)–Thank you for being your guitar playing, singing, loud laughing, hooligan self. You remind us to be playful, to push ourselves harder, and make sure we all have enough energy to run up just one more hill. And thank you for being hyper enough to play soccer with me between classes 🙂
To Ben (He’s just Ben, and that’s all. [Like Junie B. where the B stands for Beatrice but she just likes be and that’s all.])–Thank you for sharing my knitting addiction, for your daily news updates, for accidentally setting off the fire alarm with me, and for your beard. You know your beard is the only reason we keep you around (JUST KIDDING). And for being the best project partner ever, we can totally run the world.
To Alex (we have two, hence the last names, this one is Watts)–Thank you for always quoting, singing, living everything Disney with me, for sitting with me in the car to protect ourselves from Ben and Webb’s shenanigans, for sharing my love of all things food, for your sweet soul full of wonder and determination, and for being the diabolical one who threw green tomatoes at us all morning (it’s always the quiet ones).
To Herdis –Thank you for teaching us Icelandic, even though we butcher it on a daily basis. Thank you for your amazing stories, ability to pick the perfect restaurant for lunch on adventure days, making fun of Hank with us, and being the Viking Queen.
To Hank (we call him Dad, he puts up with it, we think this may be him showing affection)– Thank you for teaching us to change the world, for fueling our need to learn and try (and fail) and experience. Thank you for impromptu explorations, getting lost, and laughing with us all the while. Mostly, thank you for not killing us or leaving us at a gas station (we wouldn’t blame you if you did).
With these people by my side, even the darkest days are light.
We’re going to change the world.
I promise you.
Simple, by following the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
These 17 goals have been put in place for completion by 2030. Yes, they’re aiming high, but we have to start somewhere, and by saying we’re going to get there by 2030 we’re more likely to get there sooner than “someday.”
While the UN is thinking global, I’m thinking local. Start small, there’s plenty to do just around the corner.
Because I only have 19 days left here (*cries*) I’ll be going through them over a few posts, because I want to soak up every second I can here.
So here’s how we’re going to transform our world:
(Not by painting our hands, but this picture is cool.)
Goal 1: End Poverty
THEY SAY AS THOUGH IT’S EASY
Currently the international poverty line is set at earning the equivalent of less than or equal to $1.90 per person per day (hereafter referred to as ppd). From 2002-2016 the percentage of the world below the poverty line fell from 26 to 13. YAY PROGRESS. Not only does the UN want to protect these people form economic and social shocks, but from climate change related disasters as well (the UN gives me hope).
If the UN had asked me (they didn’t, shocking, I kn0w) I would have included more than those who fall below the poverty line. Extending services to those with less that $1.90ppd is great, but what about those at $2ppd? The extra 10 cents helps, sure, but not enough to skyrocket their quality of life. Those on the margins need us too.
My plan? Time to get an internship.
I’m thinking an organization like Capital Roots
which can give me the knowledge and experience to make a change.
What’s your plan? (Hint: Donations and volunteer hours are a good place to start!)
Goal 2: End Hunger and Malnutrition
The UN is striving to provide every family with access to calorie-sufficient, safe, and nutritional foods via systematic food production. They hope to increase land, agricultural technology and infrastructure development and access.
My hope? GMOs won’t be their answer. I think by providing towns with the land, technology and skills to start gardens which grow grains, vegetables, and protein (beans and farm animals) we can fix the problem piece by piece. Corn won’t feed the globe. Bigger tomatoes won’t fix starvation. Local access will.
(I have too many thoughts and stats on this to fit in one post, but soon you can read an essay I wrote on it! YAY YOU!)
Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
Reproductive, maternal, child health…communicable and non-communicable diseases…environmental diseases, we need help for them all.
Doctors without borders does an amazing job of increasing medicinal and vaccine access and providing some health coverage around the world. But strength is in numbers, and they don’t have enough. Hey pre-meds and nursing students (wink wink nudge nudge)
Personally, I find my hope just down the hall from me (at home that is).
My wonderwoman works at the Whitney M Young Health Center
in Albany. Just take a peak at the website and you’ll see why it’s a superhero workplace: “Whitney Young Health celebrates diversity among patients and staff as a core value and embraces cultural competency as a part of an effective means of reducing health disparities in under-served communities.”
Goal 4: Quality Education
In 2013, 59 million children of elementary school age were attending. 1 in 5 of these children had dropped out, and 2 of 5 had never even been in a classroom.
Story time has never been so crucial ❤
With only 4/17 goals mentioned, I know it already seems like a nearly insurmountable task.
But we’ve done crazier things before (like put that many in these states to begin with) so lets reverse what’s gone wrong, restore our faith in humanity, and get to work 🙂
I’ve heard it helps if you whistle 😉
Love, hugs, hope, and action plans from across the ocean ❤
Live, laugh, love,bake, (change the world,)
Marley and Team
P.S. Always give in to your wanderlust