Our orientation with the Canadian Forum for Global Missions was very beneficial. One of its main purposes was to make us more aware of other cultures and the assumptions that we make about the world because of our own pre-conceived cultural expectations. In an effort to expose us to different cultures, we visited a Hindu Mandir, A Muslim mosque and the Six Nations reserve near Brantford. The most profound of these visits was to the Six Nations reserve. It is one thing to read about the details of residential schools and land claims issues. It is another to hear the stories of pain and frustration from the people affected by them. It is easier to understand some of these issues in the news when you meet the faces behind the stories.
At the orientation we also spent a fair bit of time discussing world issues. The session that we found the most useful was a movie called “Life and Debt”. This movie illustrated the negative effects of globalization and capitalism on Jamaica’s development. It opened our eyes to some of the bigger issues in our world, but at the same time was a very clear movie to watch. We would highly recommend this video all of you. The stories shared by Jamaicans in the movie make abstract economic terms understandable and personal.
We were sad to leave our 22 new friends, all of whom are travelling to various countries around the world in the next few months (mostly in Africa and Latin America). The wisdom and insights from previous experiences will likely be invaluable in the months to come.