From NYC to Ethiopia: Catching up with Bernard Killion
There are so many benefits to having interns at CMMB. They bring enthusiasm and a eagerness to learn and serve. One of the hardest parts is saying goodbye to them when their service is over. To help mitigate the sadness, we often reach out to them to find out how they are. We recently reconnected withBernard Killion!
A former NYC intern for the Strategy and Innovation Team, Bernard joined us in 2017 while completing his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Middle East Studies at Fordham University. We caught up with Bernard a few weeks ago, and with us he shared some of his next steps and hopes for the future.
“For the first time in my life, I had names and faces to go along with all of the mind-numbing and tragic statistics that were floating around in my head due to a steady diet of cable news.”
A lot has happened since I completed my internship at CMMB. I graduated from Fordham and recieved my bachelors degree in Political Science and Middle East Studies. And today, I am excited to share that I have been invited to serve as an English language teacher in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps, from June 2018 to September 2020. After three months of pre-service training, I will be assigned to a secondary school in a rural and underprivileged community of Ethiopia. There, I’ll be responsible for three English Language classes and a host of extra-curricular activities.
I was formally introduced to the Peace Corps through a friend at Fordham University. At first, I thought it was a pretty crazy idea- to spend two years in a foreign country, halfway around the world. But, as I continued my education and became exposed to new ideas and realities, applying started to make more and more sense.
If I had to list one definitive “push factor” for ultimately applying to the Peace Corps, it would absolutely be my time interning at CMMB. Concepts that were previously contained to a classroom environment, concepts like international development, global health, poverty alleviation, and human rights advocacy, all of a sudden became incredibly personal and real.
For the first time in my life, I had the names and faces to go along with all of the mind-numbing and tragic statistics that were floating around in my head due to a steady diet of cable news.
Honestly, if you told me back when I started college that I would eventually join the Peace Corps, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But since then, the way I view the world and my place in it has changed drastically over the last four to five years.
I was initially overcome with a bit of cynicism, thinking “what possible difference could I make?” But I soon realized the huge impact groups like CMMB can have, through relatively simple interventions. It might not ever make the front page of The New York Times- but through hard-work and dedication, outcomes are constantly being improved throughout the world.
So, when I graduated from Fordham University last May, inspired by my interactions with volunteers and beneficiaries at CMMB, I found myself ditching a typical 5/10 year plan and taking on this opportunity to serve with the Peace Corps.
My only reservation throughout this entire decision making process has been everything I’m leaving at home. Over the next couple of years, “stuff is going to happen.” Knowing that I am not going to be there for these moments, with my friends and family, is incredibly difficult and something I’m currently struggling with.
My hopes for the future are rather simple. I want to get to Ethiopia and serve. I’ve actually tried to avoid looking too far into the future or making bold statements. I plan to get to Ethiopia in June, and approach every situation with an open mind, doing whatever I can to help out.