In the Second Sense of the Word

I had a moment of clarity during the quarter one workshop regarding my GHC fellowship. To share this insight, I’ll share two short stories.

First, when I was in seventh grade I had an English project where I chose a word and then researched a variety of facts about this word. I chose the word party thinking of a Friday night rendezvous. When I looked up the definition, however, I remembered that this word has meaning beyond the one I typically applied.

My second story is more recent, occurring just during our Burundi quarter one workshop. We kicked off the workshop with a speaker series and a reception with partner organizations, alumni fellows, and potential future fellows. As I was walking out of the speaking hall and into the reception I had one of the light bulb moments, you know, when suddenly the entire world is clearer, all the pieces fit together, the world spins a little slower.

So, what did I realize? As I walked into the reception, what occurred to me is that there is more than one definition of the word “fellowship”. Of course I’ve known this for years. But to me, as GHC is concerned, the word “fellowship” has had one meaning. It’s a noun that describes this dedicated period of time and activities that I will complete under the GHC umbrella. But fellowship is also a term to describe time spent with others in conversation, companionship, learning and engagement. My light bulb moment was when I realized how rightly this second definition applies to GHC. GHC is, in its root mission, about brining people together to build a movement in global health equity.

As fellows we arrive in cohorts. We’re not just scattered all over the world. We’re a corps brought together purposefully to build relationships. We disperse to a defined set of countries, with placements that are near one another. We have designated list-serves, required community activities, trainings, and a partner at our site upon which we can rely. All of those things are forms of fellowship, in the second sense of the word. As we gathered together for our workshop the Burundi fellows agreed that we should spend more time together. We’ve been in our placements and built relationships with those at our sites but as a Burundi cohort we need to be stronger. I look forward to banding together with the Burundi corps and live out my fellowship in both meanings of the word.