My name:  Julianna Joss

Where I consider home:  I am originally from Anaheim, California, but two of  the other places I’ve lived, Atlanta, Georgia and St Andrews, Scotland, will also always be homes to me.

My current occupation:  Lifelong learner!  I recently graduated with my MSc in sustainable development and have been traveling all over the world the past few months.

My interests:  Dance, sustainability, reading, surfing, travel (preferably via hitchhiking), and the Great Outdoors.

What I would do if I had the day off:  I would wake up early and go surfing.  Later in the day, I would take a yoga class then get lost hiking in some spectacular scenery.  I would end the day relaxing and reflecting.  Ideally, I’d be in the company of loved ones, stimulating conversation, and nourishing, delicious food throughout the day.

My favorite ‘bad’ food:  Macaroni and cheese – so much so that my friends made me a massive mac n’ cheese bread bowl, instead of a cake, for my birthday.

Why I am going to Wayanad, India: This opportunity melds everything that drives me – experiencing and learning about new cultures, connecting with people and building community, and putting sustainable development principles into action.  What that means to me is empowering people to seek justice, achieve strong, healthy livelihoods, and protect the natural environment.  I also aspire to make sustainability and social justice work my career and the prospect of hopefully contributing meaningfully to a vibrant place like Wayanad is genuinely a dream come true.

How I hope to grow during my time in India:  I hope to continue to understand the art of community building.  I hope I will refine and improve my skills in project implementation, strategy, and evaluation.  I hope to strive toward consistently handling challenges and uncertainty with grace, resilience, and humor.  Finally, I hope to continue the ongoing process of opening my heart and mind to let in and learn from the beauty, messiness, joy, and complexity this life brings.

My fears surrounding my service in India:  I worry that what I can offer may not be what the community and Profugo’s Center for Development need most.  I am also concerned that I will not develop enough  command of the local language, Malayalam, to engage with our partners meaningfully.  I will do my best to overcome both of these fears, but I feel a strong sense of duty to serve in a responsible way and do not want to disappoint.

The three things that I must bring to India are: My reusable, insulated water bottle, sturdy walking boots, and an e-book reader.

If I could have an Indian name, it would be:  Mukula – I’ve studied Kuchipudi classical Indian dance and mukula is my favorite mudra (hand gesture).  Mukala means flower bud, which the mudra physically represents.

What “a global neighborhood for a better quality of life” means to me:  Profugo is a unique organization that places the community empowerment at the forefront of its work.  From implementing green energy solutions to groundbreaking gender equity work through social enterprise to health education programs, Profugo is committed to sustainable change that lifts up Wayanad’s culture and citizens.  Your support is an investment in people committed to creating a neighborhood that breeds hope and inspires our global community.