By Viñel Abesco Jacinta, Equatorial Guinea
I MADE A CHOICE
From a very young age I got used to not having the opportunity to be chosen among the many, despite fulfilling all the requirements, I got used to expressions such as: “we are sorry, there are no vacancies…”, until I received a call from the Embassy of the United States in Malabo saying that I was chosen for 2 programs, Mandela Washington Fellowship and SUSI, and had to make a choice. That moment, I felt like a young boy from one of the smallest states of the United States of America who had a dream, and surprisingly, his dream took him to the White House on January 20, 1961. I had already heard about the Mandela Washington Fellowship program, and I knew some people who had participated in that program, but about the SUSI program, I did not have much information. In less than 30 minutes, sitting in front of the members of the United States Embassy in Malabo I had to make a choice, and the voice that shouted inside of me was my vocation and my passion for the educational sector, so; I chose to participate in the SUSI Program for Educators 2023, and in that way, I became the first Equatorialguinean to participate in the SUSI program since its creation.
THE LITTLE BIG FAMILY
On June 2, 2023, a new adventure that I never thought would be so full of emotions, challenges, and a lot of learning began. Suddenly, I found myself in front of a group of people who I did not know before, but with whom I had to share joys and sorrows, sunrises and sunsets, laughter, and moments of tension. I met a group of people who, like me, love teaching and have a great passion for the education. From their different provenances and their different ways of being, I learned to appreciate them, to respect their cultures and traditions, I learned to count on them and without realizing it, I started to love them and they became part of my life. With the residents of the ITD house, the bond became stronger, and we became a little big family. Each one of them gave me the hope to continue believing that the key to a better future is education.
THE CONTACT WITH NATURE
The first place I arrived was in the small town of Amherst. A cosy place, full of trees, flowers, squirrels and rabbits that run freely without fear of danger. I identified myself with that place because I love nature so much, so I enjoyed the visit of hospitality with Linda and Doug, and I was passionate about walking through the green streets of Deerfield, where the presence of indigenous settlements still alive. I lived the contrast of the dynamic life between the city of Boston and the town of Amherst with some uncertainty, because; despite belonging to the same state of Massachusetts, they had nothing in common.
My amazement was even bigger when I had to travel the huge city of New York, where the atmosphere is soft in the morning, but at night it seems that the beasts come out from their cages and take possession of the streets. There is no silence, there is no peace at all.
In the penultimate week of this great adventure, I arrived at the State of Utah, where I found myself face to face with nature in its pure state. I could see the mountains, rivers, cottages and country animals. I was able to breathe freedom and meet with myself in the Redlands of Capitol Reef.
In these 5 weeks, I have learned to appreciate the love I have received from all my colleagues, and I will always keep them in my heart. I would not like to finish this blog without thanking all the ITD team for making this adventure super nice; and especially Katie Lazdowski and Bruce Watson.
I go back to Equatorial Guinea knowing that, as a fellow citizen of the world I should not ask what America can do for me, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. (JFK).
All opinions expressed by the program participants are their own and do not represent nor reflect official views from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, or of the Institute for Training and Development, Inc.