Written by Susana Barrera, 2011 iLEAP International Fellow. Susana is a part of the Central America Women’s Leadership Fellowship, a program developed in partnership with iLEAP to equip and inspire women’s leadership in sustainable social change throughout the region.
Photo: © Eric Becker / We Are Shouting
A year after my return from iLEAP: The Center for Critical Service, I am in a place, emotionally and professionally, that I never thought I’d be. I am working on the sea with women and men’s fishing cooperatives, accompanying them through trainings in sustainable tourism.
I am a journalist and specialist in rural tourism, and until recently, was working particularly in communities in mountain destinations. My role has been to accompany these rural communities to revalue their resources and landscape so that with respect, quality and warmth they can sell experiences in their communities.
Having integrated into iLEAP helped me make great decisions: change my career, strengthen methodologies and discover that I can build my own dreams.
When I am facilitating a meeting with fishermen at sea, iLEAP is always in my toolbox. It is a learning community for life that transcended Seattle is now with me in El Salvador. In each one of my sessions on the shores of my country are my nine Fellows, the Yamamoto family, the Streeter Family – they come and go in my mind, along with the activities, expressions and conceptions of leadership and social change that were shared in the classroom for three months.
It was worth it, and they are experiences that truly leave their mark. Afterwards, one can say “it’s over”, but that magical connection and yearning for life will always be there.