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December 1, 2013

The art of a global woman

Herbi M. Francis's yen to travel began while listening to her father's exploits far away from Akwesasne

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AKWESASNE —

“It was fun for me to think of cool, interesting photo shoots. I was constantly inspired by my surroundings. I love to travel. I always loved travel photography and capturing what I saw and share it.”

TRAVEL TO AFRICA

At 17, she traveled to the Republic of Senegal on the coast of West Africa.

“My grandmother’s best friend was in the Peace Corps back then,” Herbi said. “I was interested in the Peace Corps after high school. It made sense to see what she was doing and what it was all about.

“It made a big impression on me to be in a Third World country with a diverse landscape. I had the freedom to roam around. I stayed on Gorée, an island rich with history.”

From late 2010 to early 2011, she spent six months in South Africa as part of Canada World Youth, a volunteer-exchange program.

“I’m a dual citizen. I was able to apply to it. I did a women’s program. They have co-ed ones, as well. My interest was health-and-gender issues. We did a lot of HIV/AIDS awareness and domestic violence against women. We were able to latch on and be part of programs already in the community.”

She lived with a host family in South Africa.

“It was a really, complex program. I did alternative building while I was there. I got to do a wide range of volunteer work.”

In 2012, she did her eat-pray-love pilgrimage to Belgium.

“One of my best friends was over in Europe,” Herbi said. “I was supposed to meet her, and she said it was cheaper to fly into Brussels. You could get a round-trip ticket for $500 and then connect from there.”

In Belgium, her eye was focused on people and architecture.

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