I spent days thinking about what I would write for my final blog post. I considered writing about my research, my Peace Scholar class, or even just my general experience at ISS. None of these ideas seemed right. Although they are important, I can say it’s the people I’ve met here in ISS that have shaped and impacted me more than anything else. There are so many people I could write about, but I have chosen the other Peace Scholars because they’re the people I have shared this entire experience with. So, this is my thank you to all of you for the invaluable lessons you have taught me this summer.

Winnie, I have found a sister in you. It’s truly a blessing when you find someone who shares your vision and values. From you instantly knowing what I’m thinking, to you showing me the power and beauty of black women coming together, you have shown me that it does not take years to build a solid friendship. Thank you, my African queen. Your mom would be more than proud of the woman you have become.

Betsy, even though you are older, you’re like a little sister to me. First of all, thank you for not snapping at Matea for all those comments. But more importantly, thank you for staying true to yourself at all times, and thank you for showing me how much love I can have for a loud, energetic, beautiful, and smart person like you.

Ariel Pugwood, thank you for showing me what true grace and maturity looks like. I’ve told you this before, but I will always be in awe of how you choose to carry yourself, handle difficult situations, and live in such a carefree manner.

Nick, I appreciate just how unapologetically true you are to yourself. Nothing with you seems surface-level or fake, but incredibly genuine and deep. There’s a sense of comfort I gain from that, because it lets me embrace every part of myself too. You have also renewed my passion for reading. You have reminded me that we must humble ourselves and constantly pursue learning new things. For that, I’m endlessly thankful.

Theo, my salsa/dancehall partner, thank you for displaying how important it is to have a deep understanding of your heritage and to unapologetically claim your identity. Also, thank you for reminding me how crucial it is that we take a step back and just listen sometimes.

Andy, I wish you and I spent more time getting to know each other. I guess this is one of the consequences of having such a big group. Anyway, thank you for making me realize that we shouldn’t take our education for granted. Your commitment to learning and dedication to your work is truly inspiring.

I think we can all agree that Paul is one of the kindest people we have ever met. I don’t even know how you do it. You have treated everyone with such care, understanding and genuine compassion. Thank you for that.

Jauza, it was great to meet someone here who comes from a similar background.  Thank you for having all those long conversations about politics, religion, books, and so much more with me. Thank you for showing all of us what a strong, well-spoken and assured woman looks like. I hope to be half the woman you are.

Katie, I will never forget that conversation we had about our families. Who knew we would have so much in common? Thank you for pleasantly surprising me. Thank you for confirming that our journey is our own, and that we must go through it in a manner that makes us the happiest.

Nathan, thank you for being unashamed of acknowledging how much more there is to learn about this world and humbling yourself enough to listen and ask throughout this whole experience. It was something that I lacked in, and because of you it’s something I’m trying to change.

Jasmin, I’m incredibly grateful that you are the person I got to experience all of this with. I couldn’t have asked for a better Augie partner. Thank you for being sincere in everything that you do. Thank you for being a spokesperson and fighting force for all of those people we marginalize in society. What you are doing matters more than you know. Also, thank you for being the optimist and idealist of the group. Without you we would have been a cold, dark, and pessimistic bunch.

Love you all,

R

Rahiwa

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