My name is Deborah Chatterton and I work for Vancity, a financial co-operative and one of the largest credit unions in Canada, as a communications consultant. In July 2012, I received a notice from the Canadian Co-operative Association that, for the first time ever, it was building a communications team to tour an international development project. I competed for and won a spot on the team, which includes seven other communicators from Canadian co-ops.
The day after tomorrow we’ll be leaving Canada, en route to Entebbe. Our two-week journey will take us across northern Uganda, where we’ll meet farmers and other members of the Integrated Finance and Agriculture project. We’ll learn how membership in this co-op has affected their livelihood, and upon our return we’ll each communicate their stories 10 times. I’ll be blogging daily if Internet connections exist in the little towns I’ll be visiting.
A native of Montreal, QC, I’ve been fortunate to live and work in five cities, including Manchester, UK. I’ve travelled across Canada and the US, and I’ve been to Mexico, Jamaica, the UK and France. I’ve done some adventure-based travelling, including winter camping in sub-zero temperatures. But I’ll be the first to admit that this trip is unlike any I’ve ever taken, and I’m very excited, and a little nervous.
To prepare, I’ve done a lot of shopping and have bought everything from the clothes I’ll wear in Africa, (long skirts, which I never wear at home), to an international power converter and bug spray that includes DEET. I’ve also had five shots (we’ll, six actually – but one is the flu shot because I’ll be facing a Canadian winter when I return). I’ve also taken two oral vaccinations and will begin a third, the malaria vaccination, tomorrow. I’m as prepared as I think I can be for something that is completely outside of my experience.
I look forward to meeting my fellow travellers, and to changing the picture on the header of this blog to one from Uganda. The current picture (see below) of the waterfront and Science World is what I see outside my office building on False Creek in Vancouver, BC. I put it there to represent what I’ll be leaving behind on Wednesday.
Wish us luck!