Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Living in the Clouds - Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

By Leah McDonnell, 2nd year MDP student
This is the sunset from the base of the hill, our accommodations are at the top of the hill

The Fly agaric mushroom grows on campus - looks like something out of Mario Bros.

For my placement with the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development, I am living at the top of a hill, surrounded by luscious green (and sacred) mountains, with the Waikato, a river of outstanding beauty and power running through the landscape.  The mountains reach high into the sky and often seem to have clouds that rest on them, sometimes even roll down them, bringing a brisk rainfall to keep the grass and plants fed. 

In general in New Zealand, Kiwis (New Zealanders) seem to have great respect for nature and the pristine countryside.  Where I am living and working is no different.   

Leah by the Waikato River that runs through the campus


I am working on a program that uses different aspects of the land (particularly the river) to implement programming that supports and facilitates cultural connections for Maori youth.   

Personally, I believe very strongly in the effectiveness of a program that uses a hands-on approach for youth.  I believe this to be more fun and engaging for children, and too be fair, even for adults.   

The strength I believe I can offer my placement is looking from an international perspective in regards to similar projects that are happening back home, their strengths, weaknesses, successes, and challenges.  While it took me a few weeks to truly understand my positionality here, I am confident in it now, while still understanding that it may change.

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