2011 iLEAP Fellow,
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP)
I found “a’wayeh” in iLEAP. In my community, Tep Tep, in Papua New Guinea “a’wayeh” is a common way that we greet each other. I grew up in Tep Tep hearing this greeting all the time. So you can imagine how surprised I was to deeply understand its meaning–and its connection to my life while I was here in Seattle. “A’wayeh” means “I am you and you are me.” Or that “we two are one.” It means that we are connected. Again I say, I found “a’wayeh” in iLEAP.
While iLEAP teaches us the technical skills we need to be better leaders in our communities, most important is that it creates the space for people to have meaningful connections in service to humanity. And for me these connections are both emotional and practical. They are emotional because I feel the closeness of “a’wayeh” with people from around the world who join the iLEAP programs. This closeness allows us to share and learn from each other in very powerful ways. And they are practical because I use these connections to bring information, resources, and partnerships into Tep Tep in support of social change. iLEAP has given me a clearer vision of the world that I want to be a part of creating.