Many of you know me as the Program Officer for Global Links’ programs in the Caribbean. However, many of you might not know me or my love for the Caribbean.
I am a half Kenyan, half Puerto Rican that grew up in Puerto Rico. While at this point in my life, I have lived in Pittsburgh longer than I lived in Puerto Rico, my life is still lived and enjoyed by Caribbean standards:
- Life is always better by the beach, and if there is a hammock and coconut water, that is called paradise.
- My energy and happiness are linked to the amount of daily sunshine I get. (Yup. I am not the friendliest person in December and January…)
- Quality of life is measured by how much time you can spend with family and friends, eating good food, and dancing the night away. (How good the rum is will be a big factor in whether the dancing becomes a full blown party.)
As a Caribbean girl living “up in the North”, I have tried to keep my ties to my culture. In college, I was part of an afro-Caribbean dance ensemble. After college I was active in the Latin American Cultural Union. And my home church is St. Benedict the Moor where a lot of Africans and Caribbeans living in Pittsburgh are members. Professionally, my working experiences have been in international business and marketing. While my career began in the for-profit world, I decided to join the non-profit world in 2004. So being the Program Officer for the Caribbean Region for Global Links is the perfect blend of my personal life with my professional life.
When we launched our blog earlier this year, I was not sure what I wanted to blog about. My voice was silent. But as I started journaling my thoughts during my most recent trips to Haiti and Guyana, I felt my observations could be something I could voice. This is how this column – Caribbean Voice – was born.
I hope to share with you my experiences, frustrations, and joys in managing Global Links projects in the Caribbean. Filled with self reflections, Caribbean Voice will not only be a column about our work, but also about my journey experiencing the complexities and beauties of the vast cultures and nations that make up the Caribbean region. I hope you will make the column complete with your comments. I also invite you to follow my work through our program updates and field reports.