Students Without Borders is a WUSC and CECI program that enables Canadian university and college students to participate in exciting, volunteer learning opportunities in South America, Africa, and Asia.

IAC Day 3

August 15, 2006

Picture 001.jpg   Bill Clinton   It's a blurry picture but that was me standing on the platform after giving him the clothespin

Today I learned that if you have a goal, no matter how far fetched that goal is, if you allow yourself the opportunity to reach that goal, you can most definitely be successful.

Yesterday many of the youth delegates were handing out clothespins, the ones that you use to hang up your clean laundry on clotheslines, and telling other youth to write a message on it and give it to someone else. Ideally that someone else will pass it on, and your message will travel through the hands of many people.

My message was “Don’t just hear youth, listen to us and act.” I thought it was pretty to the point and I had one person in mind that I wanted to give it to. Many people asked me to pass it along but I had my mind set. I wanted to give it to the former President of the US, Bill Clinton. I knew that he was in attendance at the conference and wanted him to pass on my message. I saved my pin until today when I went to a workshop that he put on with Stephen Lewis. The workshop was fantastic and after it was over, Mr. Clinton circled the room shaking hands with people. There were body guards surrounding him, not letting people get close to him. Further down the room I saw a black platform that media personnel host cameras onto. I knew that this was my chance and I jumped up on the platform. Mr. Clinton came closer and he shook the hands of the people in front of the platform, just below me. I called out his name, as was everyone else, but somehow my voice came across louder and he looked at me. I passed him the clothespin and told him “pass it on.” He said thank you and put it in his pocket. I was suddenly overcome with exuberation and adrenaline. I had been determined to give my message to Bill Clinton and was successful. It really injected more hope into me. I was feeling a little down because of all the issues and complications of HIV/AIDS. There isn’t a quick fix and there are many cultural and religious issues intertwined such as the imbalance of power between men and women and promoting abstinence over condom use. Today taught me that the power of one individual is great and if you put your mind to something and allow yourself the opportunity to achieve it, nothing is impossible. However if we come together as a group, the power that we can have to affect change is limitless.

1 Comment

  1. Karima on August 16, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Christa,

    Here at WUSC many of us have been following your journey in Botswana and now the detailed description of your experiences at the IAC Conference.

    Your stories have been deeply moving! Keep up the terrific work and we look forward to seeing you in Ottawa for WUSC’s Annual General Assembly (AGA). We’re looking forward to hearing about your experiences first hand during your presentation at the SWB Session at the AGA.

    Cheers,
    Karima