Thursday, May 04, 2006

How much information can you cram into a week?

Somehow I managed to successfully arrive at the EWB Training House in downtown Toronto with no directions and no house number. Now, like most other proud east coast folk I hate Toronto; but I must admit that everyone I met was very helpful, pointing me in the right direction and being generally more pleasant than Torontonians are known to be. So the people are nice... however, the endless concrete would still be too much for me if I ever tried to move here.

The EWB Training House is, to say the least, absolutely crazy. It's a small three floor, three bedroom duplex in a Portugese and Chinese neighbourhood in the heart of Toronto. This week it is hosting myself, 22 other short term volunteers, and 4 national office staff. Needless to say, sleep, let alone a nice bed, is almost impossible to come by. I'm not complaining though, because it's more than worth the trade-off to be in a house with so many fantastically inspiring people with such amazing life experiences. I don't think twice about late night conversations as their sharp minds often provide fantastic insights for me. Besides, sleep is for the weak anyway.

Training itself is even more intense than what our packed schedule suggests. We usually run for at least 12 hours a day covering a wide variety of topics to a remarkable amount of depth. We're divided into two groups of 11/12 people in order to maximize the effectiveness of the sessions--an important decision as it helps us stay involved (and awake) during the long days. It's not that the modules are boring; it's just that it's hard to digest so much information so quickly without your mind wandering or trying to shut off.

Our modules have included:
  • Hopes and Fears
  • What is Poverty?
  • Introduction to Rural Livelihoods
  • EWB's Vision
  • Health with Dr. Wise (EWB's doctor)
  • Nutrition
  • Peer to Peer Learning
  • Cross-Cultural Communication
  • Integration
  • Culture Shock
  • Sector Focus Groups (Water and Sanitation)
  • Gender Roles and Issues
  • Understanding the Development Sector
  • EWB's Impact Model
  • Safety and Security
  • Photography
We're at about the halfway point of training right now, so that list will more than double by the end of it. I'm amazed at just how useful all my RC courses have been so far, and how some of the topics are my upcoming classes this year (such as Cross-Cultural Communications). Yay for useful university programs!

Right now everyone's frantically working on presentations we have to make tomorrow morning. That reminds me: I should start working on the presentation I have tomorrow morning! It's fairly basic, but I should give it a quick look over before I collapse... look for another update for me soon, as I (finally) got my specific project details and hope to go over them tomorrow sometime. Until then take care and thanks for checking up on me!

Take care,


At 10:14 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice to hear u made it to step one ok (aka toronto). They should take all those topics and make it into a degree or somethin ;)
all the best
Brian Magee

At 1:23 p.m., Blogger Laura said...

Wow Bryn, those look like some incredible topics that you're covering! I wish I could be there side by side with you!

I totally remembered last night that you and I promised not to die before each other, so be safe on this trip, Sunshine!

At 12:18 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds absolutely incredible. :)

I wish I had the opportunity to do something like that.

Be safe and enjoy every minute of it!

At 12:19 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

..that last comment was from me!



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