Stefanie — Looking back on Myanmar Februari 2017
In February 2017 The Caravan’s Journal organised a storytelling trip to Myanmar, where participants joined masterclasses about storytelling and how local professionals use stories to talk about social and political issues. Participants also worked on their own project about the area and one of them was Stefanie, a Belgian freelance journalist. Here is her testimony of what she experienced in the two weeks she was with us.
How has the trip to Myanmar with The Caravan’s Journal influenced you or your professional life?
“Myanmar has been a turning point for me, really. Having quit my communications job, I had the dreams but not the guts to pursue a career in journalism. My ‘impostor syndrome’ had me feeling uncapable to take any steps towards my new future. TCJ has given me exactly the encouragement I needed. The journey did not take away my fears, but TCJ gently pushed me to face them and do it anyway. The considerate mentors, my inspiring colleagues; they all provided such a safe environment, giving me the chance to test myself, perhaps fail , and do better next time.
It is partly thanks to this experience that I started off as a freelance journalist one month ago. And whenever the irrational insecurities hit me again, I recall those days in Myanmar and the joyful energy they gave me. Way more of a boost than your morning espresso, if you ask me.”
If you have to choose one image you took to represent your Myanmar experience, what would it be and why?
“I took this photo in the primary school of the small village of Paung Daw, where my story on microfinance had led me. Both villagers and charity workers had established a local community bank, owned by the villagers themselves. Thanks to the revenues the bank makes, the village can provide the kids with all necessary school material.
Of course I wanted a picture of the school children. They were adorably shy when I entered the room, but quickly focused on their class again, which allowed me to take this picture. I don’t know if this is a common thing, but I always see myself reflected in these young girls. I really hope she and her friends can keep on studying as long as they want to.”
“The considerate mentors, my inspiring colleagues; they all provided such a safe environment, giving me the chance to test myself, perhaps fail , and do better next time.”