|Home :: Who's Who :: Reflection - Chelsea Purvis|
|Tiffany Franke | Chelsea Purvis | Mina Alaghband | Clare Cameron | Anne Carney | Caroline Howe | Amelia Page | Jurist Tan | Lauren Thompson|
Chelsea Purvis from Saratoga, California was, during this trip, a Yale senior with a degree in History. After Yale, she continued her education for a Masters degree in Economic and Social History in Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Chelsea has engaged in extensive volunteer work in the U.S. and in developing countries. She plans to pursue a career in law in which she advocates for the rights of impoverished people living in developing countries.
|My visit to Sierra Leone was, in all honesty, life changing for me. I
know it sounds a bit premature to make that assessment only a few weeks after
our trip, but the feeling that my journey to Sierra Leone would end up being
something more than just a one-time visit struck me more than once during my
time in the country, on the plane ride home, and afterward back in the United
States. I now know that I need to be part of what's going on in Sierra Leone.
This is because of something that happened during our trip: there was a
fundamental shift in my understanding of the country and CARE's work there.
The shift made me understand that what's happening in Sierra Leone right now
is a creative, energetic, bold project of building and growing.|
I came to Sierra Leone naively expecting to face a lifeless, war-torn landscape and faces of people driven to hopelessness by grinding poverty and an unthinkably devastating war. When I arrived, I discovered that while the effects of poverty and war were devastating, Sierra Leone lacked any feeling of lifelessness or hopelessness. In fact the country is full of energy, resilience, and determination. It seemed to me that everyone we met--from CARE staff in various cities to rural villagers of both genders and all ages--was filled with a drive to improve the struggling country for the sake of everyone in it. CARE's work aligned with the spirit of the population perfectly, since CARE was determined to work with Sierra Leoneans at a grassroots level to build the future that Sierra Leoneans want to see, working in both innovative and time-trusted ways--both talking to villagers about the importance of women's rights and helping them dig wells. In five years, Sierra Leoneans and CARE have accomplished a great deal together. As the war moves farther into the past and Sierra Leone continues along a path of development, CARE can only do more great work with the people of the country.
As I reflect more on my time in Sierra Leone, I continue to feel honored that I was given the chance to meet so many strong people and to see--up-close--the amazing projects that CARE Sierra Leone has undertaken. I now share the hopefulness for Sierra Leone's future that seems to pervade the country. Even more, I also feel a personal connection with the people of the country that I never would have without visiting. I know that not only do I need to be part of what's happening in Sierra Leone because of how promising and exciting CARE's projects there are, but also because I've made new friends about whom I can't simply forget. Visiting the country with CARE was a promise to share with other Americans the story of Sierra Leone and CARE's work there. For me personally, it was also a promise to remain invested in the country and find a way to stay involved in the wonderful work that's taking place there.
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