For some reason, I have not been able to sleep lately. Maybe I miss the coziness of my room on the train. Maybe I miss the rocking motion and the sounds of the wheels on the tracks that lulled me into a profound sleep every night. Maybe I just miss all of my MTP friends…
Check: All of the above.
Besides the nostalgia I have been feeling, I hit the ground running as soon as we got off the train in Washington, DC. I started a summer internship in the field of international development at Creative Associates International, a company “providing outstanding, on-the-ground development services and forging partnerships to deliver sustainable solutions to global challenges.”
During the time that I should be resting, I am reminiscing about moments on the train.
As I stare at the ceiling in bed with the lights off, I can see myself gradually changing throughout my Fulbright-MTP experience. I continue to challenge every single “truth” I used to proclaim, and realize my most significant change is learning to embrace that change.
Being incapable of changing your mind or preconceptions is often confused with having strong convictions. Throughout my time at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, I’ve watched many of my “truths” crumble to the ground when presented with evidence and new perspectives.
I have never felt freer.
I have learned about race, gender, environmental sustainability, conflict transformation and many other forms of human interaction and theory that re-shaped my vision of the world, and the Millennial Trains Project is the pinnacle of that process, because of the fact that I got something I did not have before: Inspiration for action.
My project for the Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project focused on three aspects that I consider essential for any youth intervention that incorporates storytelling as a tool for trauma healing or positive youth development. These three aspects include: conducive environments for storytelling, creative ways to tell stories and finally that the stories inspire others to generate social change.
Not only was I incredibly inspired by my other colleagues on the train, but they were also inspired by me, and counter-intuitively, that humbled me in a tremendous way. All of our stories inspire social change in different spheres. Headmaster CEO at Qeyno Labs and White House Champion of Change, Kalimah Priforce’s story, inspired social policy at the highest level of the U.S. Government to generate more opportunities for disenfranchised youth. Senior at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and founder and CEO of GenHERation, Katlyn Grasso’s story, inspired big companies and businesses to embrace girls’ creativity and potential that, like her, can become future CEOs and political leaders.
And, my story — as a passionate lover of his country and his people committed to social justice in El Salvador — inspired my fellow MTP friends in the same way. I have no doubt that we will continue to inspire each other to realize the full potential that we saw in each other in this life changing trip that now is embedded in my memory, in my heart and in my body.
This post is dedicated to all my wonderful friends from the train.