Sunday, October 23, 2011

Première Semaine

So this journey begins. I've been granted the opportunity to take part of this fellowship program with the UN. Today is was day 2, I can't believe that we're already going on day 3. My days are heavily packed with crash-course about Human Rights courses taught by UN specialists. I got my UN pass, mad books. We were told that the first week of the journey will entail learning the basics UN-Human Rights /International Law 101. Readings are hectic. There is almost no time to rest. ... to enjoy the scenery, that is all so new to me.

There's not much to say but that. ... Trying to find the time to eat. sleep. Keep my family and friends updated as much as I can... aaannnd blog. It's happening... slowly... somehow.

 I'm practicing my french :) .... I'm the unofficial translator in the group. I'm realizing that I may have an ear for languages because I'm finding myself translating certain words from English to french, Spanish, Portuguese.

If I could find a way to put together what went down today... you would get why at 1:22 am I'm smiling from ear-to-ear and I'm in awe of ...this. Today was a learning experience. I took in for the first time the dynamics of Treaty bodies, International Law and states. .... to break that down, I took in the international instruments that are specific to the United Nations and learned how states can be legally bound or softly tied to these laws. Today I understood the detailed technicality behind the reason why sometimes when the UN suggest states to do certain things they don't necessarily implement it. I knew this before... but never like this. Since I was told by one of the coordinators of the fellowship program about the 1st week is meant to be introductory, learning the basic structure is necessary to know in any circumstance.

I think what's more exciting about this part of it is that I tasted the possibility of hearing about specific ways in which people of African descent can mobilize themselves and pressure their government to be tied to these conventions and treaties, most if not at least some they are signatories of. For anyone reading this who may be wondering, NO I don't have a background in International Relations, (though I took 1 class during my undergrad at York U) and NO I don't have a background in Law (though I took a class at York U, then dropped it half way through it lol)... But I do recognize and accept that with the work that I've done I am an activist in my own right.  ... I will admit that there were /(still are) moments where I'm dozing off, in the middle of some of these sessions... I can't deny the lessons that I'm taking in. I can't deny the space that I'm in and everything that it encompasses.

UN-related learning aside, the people that I'm around have an energy to them that I can't put into words. Their struggle and activism in their community ... and obvious frustration and exhaustion is visible in their tones even if I don't speak Portuguese or spanish. It's an expression and vibe that is all to familiar to me, and some people that I know in my community as well as my own home. Today I found myself eating, laughing, joking, celebrating a birthday, and singing bob marley anthems outloud from the bus ride, train ride and walk from the Brazilian restaurant to the hostel where we're all staying. ... then somewhere in-between I found myself finding abstract bars of Tupac &Biggie tracks and reciting the lines to these songs I heard vaguely with the fellow from the UK and the US. ....(how did I get here?).
(1:48am 20/10/11)

Ever so grateful.

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