Today is departure day for students from three different U.S. universities who are participating in our second Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip to South Africa. As part of their orientation and early reflection these next few days, they’ll be writing an “I Am From” poem as an ice-breaker.

Associate director Mariam Mitry, who is co-facilitating the trip, has used the poetry activity with different groups over the years and has found it to be a great community builder.

“It shows what is salient to each person and his or her identity,” Mariam said. “It allows you to express yourself in a more creative or nontraditional sense than just stating where you’re from and where you grew up.”

This activity is also a good way to introduce the idea that there is more to a person than meets the eye. A group of people that seem pretty homogenous can share their poems and realize the unique family and cultural backgrounds each one carries with them.

We’ve included the format for the “I Am From” Poem here so you can use it in your own community-building:

I Am From Poem
I am from…
(senses, smells, colors, tastes, etc)
I’m from…
(foods from culture(s) of origin)
I’m from…
(languages, phrases from culture(s)of origin)
I’m from…
(legacy of ancestors e.g., their names, occupations, journeys, struggles, strengths, etc.)

Feel free to share your poems with us – we’d love to read them!

Please keep our Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip participants and facilitators in your prayers, as well as the people of South Africa.