It hasn’t been a terribly easy trip with frequent illness but it’s been a remarkable one. I learned so much about SHN’s work, our partners’ work, the Dominican Republic, myself and even social work. Traveling with the team from the Department of Social Work has enabled SHN’s work, monitoring and learning to be taken to a new level for me. It’s not often that I get the opportunity to really dig into the big questions at the heart of international aid and development with such an intelligent and understanding group of people. I really wish that all of our staff could have this experience. Traveling with a large group proved to be an excellent way to gather very meaningful information at our site visits, to a depth not possible in our usual monitoring and evaluation visits due to time and personnel limitations. In particular, the team was able to commune with local families at some sites, learning about them and their way of life. Though it was logistically more challenging, the benefits far outweighed the additional planning required.
As the trip comes to a close, I realize how privileged and honored I am to do what I do, to work with the team from the Department of Social Work and SHN’s overseas partners, and to be able to address one of the most important issues in our world. It’s hard work - things are never neat, there are no easy answers, just long days and seemingly endless questions – but there is no substitute for this work: working to change our world and share our resources and talents with our brothers and sisters around the world.