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One of my granddaughters was extremely wary. She said, "I don't know how to do this and I don't want to be there." But by the end, she was begging to stay. She had formed some amazing friendships. It was quite a transition.

- Anonymous

Coming to America... and to GCN ~ My Own Story! (5th Installment)

Dear readers,

What a long time it's been since we connected in this space. I hadn't and haven't forgotten "our journey" - the transatlantic trip that my reminiscences had invited and brought you on. Now, what can I share with you today? Hmmm so much to talk about! Let's however take a break from my life on the Savannah grass fields of Cameroon and journey to La Push on my very first GCN trip.

! Hasta pronto! – not goodbye

By: Linda Stuart, Outgoing GCN Director (2005-2014)
Just over nine years ago, when I had applied for the job of GCN’s Executive Director, I did not disclose my whereabouts during much of the lengthy interview process the hiring committee members conducted. They were thorough, and in my way, I was proving to have flexibility and patience (latter quality is my growing edge).

A GCN Trip to Mexico Provided the “Phoenix” to/for a Teacher and His School and Community!


“The Nahua people held "the flower and song", or art, in great esteem. They considered it the only road to a more authentic form of knowledge, closer to reality, less subject to the relative, illusory nature of the earthly world. This is clear in their extensive legacy to universal art, poetry, architecture, murals, sculpture and textiles -- some of the many disciplines which the Nahua helped to develop.” – from A Brief History of the Nahua People


Last October: A Dream Realized

Photo above taken by Tyrel Nelson (Trip participant Oct. 2013)

Walking through the misty evening on October 31st in Cuetzalan, I had one of those moments where I couldn't believe I was, where I was. 

Coming to America... and to GCN ~ My Own Story! (3nd Installment)

Dear readers,

In the last installment, we visited a memorable day in my elementary school days as part of our journey to my village and my little life growing up. Today, I'll like for us to swerve a little from the sun refusing to shine and take an up-close look at my encounter with technology and also what being foreign meant to us children growing up at the ends of the world, if you may. Here is an excerpt:

Memories from my Childhood

Coming to America... and to GCN ~ My Own Story! (2nd Installment)

To better understand how far apart our worlds are - literally and metaphorically, I've often used the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean that separates Minnesota from Cameroon to make the point. In the last installment, we left off with the image of squirrels scurrying about freely and nonchalantly. The pain of childhood troubles that such waste of good food conjured in me made me decide to share with you an excerpt from my memoire. A day like no other when I was in elementary school.

Coming to America... and to GCN ~ My Own Story!

Let's start my American immersion experience from the beginning. I was born in an obscure village known as Ndzeru in the Savannah grass fields of Cameroon. As the first boy in a family of eight, my father took me trapping and hunting rodents and taught me how to tap palm wine (a sap from a type of palm known as raffia) before I turned ten. As kids, we loved Sundays because it was the one day that missionaries would risk the dangerous contours of our roads and arrive for church services in a four- wheel locomotive. We used to gather around it and examine it in wonder.

Money Magazine's article on GCN!

GCN recently was interviewed by Money Magazine's writer, Carolyn Bigda. Check out what she had to say about our family trips! You can see the PDF of the article here.

GCN's feature:

A volunteer vacation may sound like an ideal family getaway, but many trips are limited to kids 16 and older. And let's say you do find one that allows rugrats: Most organizers charge per person which adds up quickly when you bring the brood. 

Food, Friendship and Fascination

It has been a little over a month since I returned from Peru with the American Youth Leadership Program, and my 21 travel companions.  Now that I'm generally caught up on sleep, work (well, as much as I will ever truly be caught up) and processing the trip, I would like to share my reflections on the progr