for the last almost 3 weeks, I have been involved with a programme which took me and approx 120 other people to Noumea, New Caledonia, then to another country in the Pacific and then re-convened in Port Vila, Vanuatu for the closing ceremony.
I loved that I didn't have to pay a cent and some people gave me this opportunity, which I am ever so grateful for. My employers were also quite stoked and allowed me to attend, even though they can be real shits much of the time ya know. True Story.
Anyhow, I have make a lot of contacts, but more so, friends for loife.
Obviously - I won't go into detail about my study tour because that will expose who I am in my human form. Auuu, Aikaaee!
If you want my intelligent professional reflections about this programme, I have done this on my virgin blog.
New Caledonia, wow....what a depressing story ): The study tour group who covered NC summed it up well with "New Caledonia, you are so complicated".
The relationship between the French administration and the Kanak people is a contentious one and it was evident even in the arrangement of the entire conference.
The only involvement of the Kanaks was a very brief ceremony in the beginning and a group who danced, sang at the end.
The most shocking thing for me, coming from an independent country is ...unstable and obviously unbalanced access to resources - which have over the decades filled the coffers of the French.
Sad sad sad.
I'm not being anti - French though, because their influence means the BEST cuisine you could think of was available.
I think we all left with added kgs at the end of this programme.
Overall, I had an absolutely successful, engaging, learning, inspiring, rewarding time and I am going to continue paying it forward.