Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sweet, Sweet T&T

Hello from Team Trinidad!

I hope this post finds you well and enjoying all that this summer has to offer! We are nearing the end of our second week in the beautiful Trinidad and Tobago, and it has been an amazing adventure thus far. We have worked hard in terms of establishing rapport, delving into research, working with community liaisons and partners, and finding our footing in navigating the complexities of diving into a different culture. Thus said, we have also had tons of fun! We have explored a local monastery, hiked through the rain forest, limed with new friends, basked on the incredible beaches, laughed at our occasional blunder(s), and have definitely done our fair share of exploring.

This experience has been incredible for me personally as well. For those who don't know, I am of mixed heritage as my father is from the United States and my mother is from Trinidad. So, as you can imagine, this experience has further pushed me to explore my own identity as I straddle the line of outsider and native. Being immersed in this culture, for me, is like being able to hum the tune to a song who's words you don't know. There are many things here which are familiar to me as they are values my mother passed along. There are, however, those things which I feel as though I should know, but have never had the chance to learn. This experience complicates my personal narrative as it leads me to question and open the opportunity to explore where I came from, and consequently where I am going.

The opportunity to appreciate the natural and cultural beauty of T&T, the invaluable research experiences, and the opportunity for auto-analysis of my identity are among the plethora of reasons I am grateful for the experience offered to me through the MHIRT program. Within two weeks, I am an undeniably different individual than the young woman who stepped off the plane- a bit unsure and wanting for direction- and I look forward to the next 8 weeks in the beautiful Trinidad and Tobago.

Thanks for reading!


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