Episode 80 – Your Invitation to: Go Beyond Borders

Norah Jones, Limeteze Pierre-Gilles share the language-centered rescue
It's About Language, with Norah Jones
It's About Language, with Norah Jones
Episode 80 - Your Invitation to: Go Beyond Borders

“As somebody who is an expert in language and with language, with our use of language, we can either help build great, amazing relationships, and at the same time we can also crush them, right? So building relationship, first of all, is key. Getting to know Haiti on a different level is key. Getting to know some Haitians, getting to know the history, do a little bit of homework is key. Our liberations are bound up together. I cannot be free until you are free. You cannot be free until I am free. “

In Episode 80, I invite you to hear the voice of Limetze Pierre-Gilles. She speaks as a partner with the non-profit organization Beyond Borders.

Beyond Borders consciously uses language as a vehicle to give voice to those in poverty and enslavement in Haiti; to invite them into a community of health and support; and to release their superpower back into the community, so that they can commit to growing their own and others’ opportunities an capacities.

I invite you to take 45 minutes to be inspired in depth by the story of the organization and in particular by the voices of those Haitans whose lives were rescued and lifted up. (You’ll love Elia, the woman to which Limeteze refers in the podcast. An amazing woman.)

Please go to Beyond Borders and pick one of the presentations/tours. Use the drop down menu to see the three dates I am hosting: October 25 and 27, and November 1.

As I mention in the podcast, you will NOT experience a fundraising event. In the tour, Beyond Borders shares with you an information that is good to know as a global citizen.

The link you receive you can use to watch alone, or with a group that you think may be interested. Education colleagues, language and culture organizations, business teams, religious groups: you can join together to watch and discuss.

If you are already engaged in using language — your voice, your communication skills, the superpower you have identified in words to yourself and others — for a service cause such as this, you will find the tour inspiring in itself, yes, and perhaps you will see an approach that can inform and grow what you already do.

If the work of Beyond Borders speaks to your heart, then perhaps this is where you can find your voice, community, and superpower.

We’ll see!

Please sign up for one of my tours at https://give.beyondborders.net/tour/ . Please accept my invitation to go beyond borders with me.

Enjoy the podcast.

Scroll down for full transcript.

Thank you for always focusing on the possibilities, opportunities and the power of language and what it can do for us individually - and collectively!

Elizabeth Mack

If you've never done #cliftonstrengths, yourself or with your team, don't wait any longer.  Norah Jones of FLUENCY CONSULTING is the one and only to do it! It's all about your super powers: finding & using them to affect positive change in the world. What's not to love?!

Elizabeth Mack
Founder and CEO / Freestyle Languages


Yes, @NorahLulicJones definitely has the talent of "bringing out" the best in others or allowing them to showcase themselves in the best light! Thank you for directing the spotlight on others who have great stories and talents to share with others. 

Lisa Fore


Your podcasts are exceptionally relevant and applicable, thought-provoking and insightful, easy-to-follow and enjoyable!  

Paul Sandrock
Senior Advisor for Language Learning Initiatives / ACTFL


You have an immense talent to draw the best from your participants. 

Richard Brecht


Norah knows how to LISTEN - she really "hears" the message - and the interview is richer because of it.  New questions come from the hearing. 

Terri Marlow

Want to hear more? Access previous episodes, and get to know the wonderful people I talk with through the It’s About Language page, or by clicking on the Podcast tab above. You can also find this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

As a certified Gallup Strengths coach, I can provide you or your organization personalized coaching to discover and build on your strengths.

I provide workshops, presentations, and talks that inspire and engage through powerful language insights, and I pair those insights with practical applications for the lives of educators, learners, businesses, and faith-centered organizations. I’d love to share ideas with your organization or group, and develop an event tailored to your objectives.

Click here to start a conversation.


Norah L. Jones: So as I mentioned in episode 79, the focus for this season takes us one step beyond the whole idea of just listening to and enjoying amazing conversations with amazing people about language, the unique human experience. And I’ve had awesome guests with direct, purposeful charge.

This season, we’re going to be taking a look at the invitation that their activities, their resources provide you as a potential to do something or to reflect on what you’re already doing, to be welcomed into a brand new way of considering your identity, your community, and your impact in the world, or to turn to those that you know in your families, in your communities, as colleagues in organizations and say, “Here’s something I learned.”

Norah L. Jones: And even if you don’t get it out of every episode, I hope that you will continue to feel that cumulative effect of realizing that you are already having a huge impact in the world because of language.

And when we can take that natural experience we have and reflect on it and practice it and channel it, we become purposeful, we become more effective, and we grow the joy of the world. We learn ourselves, we gain resources, we join with others that are of like mind, we learn how to act.

That is, they’re all part of truly addressing the three items that I have had on my website now for two years: Find your voice, enter the conversation, and name your super power. So that’s my commitment to you. We’re gonna start it today with an amazing organization called Beyond Borders. Beyond Borders works specifically with Haiti. It addresses poverty, child slavery, the importance of education especially for young women, and the development of leadership.

Norah L. Jones: I happen to have had an experience with Haiti, being in Haiti, because of a connection through my parish, through my religious organization. My husband, who’s a water expert, and I, joined some engineers and we went to listen to and help to provide resources and help in action to those of a particular town in Haiti who were dying of cholera because they did not have clean water. And watching the impact of people that gather together to say, “This is what we need. This is how we could be helped. How can you help us? By partnering with us, having us take the lead, letting us show you what we need.” And then since you, in this case, us, those from this United States, had more resources to be able to provide the exact pinpoint resources that they needed to solve that problem, deeply affected me. That we had heard their voice, recognized where their community was, and because of their leadership, we had impact on our lives and were able to contribute.

Norah L. Jones: This is the kind of thing we’re looking at with Beyond Borders today. Now, beyondborders.net is where you will find the website. I also have lots of information on my website, fluency.consulting.

So I hope that you will go there to not only read about this particular episode, but I’ve established an invitation page for you. So if you find this organization of interest or others that we are talking about in this season, you will find a special page where you can go in and see some of the language-specific resources, organizations, actions, and opportunities that I’m hoping to be able to share with you during this coming season. It’s your invitation to find out what can work for you or for those that you know can use their skills, their voice, and their community to make a difference.

Norah L. Jones: Now, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to listen to a dear partner of Beyond Borders. Her name is Limeteze Pierre-Gilles. She is a School Sister of Notre Dame, as you’ll hear from her with an educational focus. When I spoke with Limeteze, I wanted to discover, again, how it is that Beyond Borders specifically had recognized how language brought the voice of Haitians to the forefront, helped them to grow or create community, and to have a positive impact on a country that so many times appears only on many of the radars and especially the Western world, as a place of poverty and disruption? You’ll hear a very different sense from Limeteze in this particular moment of excerpt. We’ve got six items from her, and here is the first about what Beyond Borders is all about.

Limeteze Pierre-Gilles: Sometimes it could be a little bit challenging for someone to just imagine something positive or even productive going on in Haiti right now. Beyond Borders is a non-profit organization that works in Haiti.

Beyond Borders helps to build movements.

There are actually four movements that we focus on. It’s the movement to end the practice of restavek. The movement to guarantee universal access to quality primary education, the movement to end violence against women and girls, and also to provide sustainable livelihoods.

Norah L. Jones: A really big question that I had for Limeteze was, “How do you begin in a town?” When I first began to learn about Beyond Borders, it was like, “Well, so how do you go in? How do you find it? What do you… ” And she made me come to a full stop. She said, “This is not a non-profit organization, a non-governmental organization going in to anywhere, convincing anybody of anything. This is an organization that listens to the voice of the community. ” So, listen to the voice of Limeteze now as she speaks about how she gets the community’s voice engaged, so that the community is doing the work, so that the resources and the background of others can be of support.

Limeteze Pierre-Gilles: Before we go into a community, first let me say that the work is mainly done by Haitians. We have a few staff in Haiti, but most of the work is being conducted by volunteers. So the staff would go, they know all the leaders, the people who really need to be involved. They would conduct a social mapping of a particular community. Once they identify the community, they do the social mapping and then they get all the leaders involved. All the people in the community who know the people, who know what needs to be done, they get them involved. And then also the people themselves, they help identify the people who are most in need, who need to be the participants or the beneficiaries of this work. So we don’t just go in and then choose people or say, this is what we need to do. This is what we are here to do. But the people themselves are involved in the development and implementation of the work that needs to be done.

Norah L. Jones: In this podcast series over these two years, over and over again, folks have described how they found their own identity by finding their voice. And we’ve taken a look over and over again about how the words, the language that we speak to ourselves inside, and that which we hear from outside, provides us that sense of who we are. And we’ve taking a look at some very tough circumstances, and I think that it’s appropriate for us to be able to say that when we look at how we are going to transform the world, how we’re going to grow it to be more positive, how we’re going to help to bring people together, or at least to be able to make sure that people are not hating each other from afar; when we are ready to step up and have agency in the world to create a more secure, peaceful, prosperous future, that we’re taking a look at the basic identity that we bring and also the identity that others may have lost.

Trauma, invisibility, isolation, we’ve heard of all of those things through various podcasts having to do with say bias, even bias that wasn’t named interiorly.

We’ve taken a look at those that have heritage languages and who may or may not have been encouraged to continue their identification with their heritage while growing their new identity in a new culture.

We have looked at those that have been immigrants or refugees, and where their identity is sometimes assumed because of their identity racially or through accent. And all of these traumas, these experiences of humanity all have an impact then on how people see themselves.

So listen to this next segment where Limeteze ties the way that resources and effectiveness of Beyond Borders goes with voice and be thinking, as I say, this is an invitation to you, if this particular organization is resonating with you with regard to how they work, great. If you can think of other things you already do or that you’ve been wanting to do, listen to the nature of voice, and listen to the nature of what it does to transform identity and impact.

Limeteze Pierre-Gilles: The staff and the volunteers, when they go in a community, they have a way of building the relationship with the people that they already know in some cases. And also they have some curriculum, some methods, some even proven methods that are already there.

In some cases, there are some tools that they use for education and even to provide psychosocial support for some who are in training and having them to use their own voice is very, very important to the work. Let me give you one example. There is a group that is called the Survivors Network. They are women and men, mostly women who experience the practice of restavek. We don’t have time for me to explain everything, what this really is.,But the shame and the trauma that they experience… So they need help. They need support to deal with this shame and trauma and embarrassment. And once they get the support, the psychosocial support in the group meetings, they are able to speak in a sense, to speak of what they have suffered, what they have endured over the years and sometimes decades.

Limeteze Pierre-Gilles:

And they use their voice to help others.

They become the trainers. They become the community leaders, the organizers, to help other communities. And in some cases, people in their own communities to say, this is what’s happening. And this is how we can do better by our children. This is what we can do as a community. And they become leaders. Once they get the support that they need to unleash their own voice, so to speak, to get their voices out there, to know who they are and what they can accomplish and to better their own communities.

Norah L. Jones: Here on this podcast and also on my website, I’m going to be inviting you to learn how to engage in an information session that I’m hosting, actually several.

It’s not fundraising, it’s information. So what I would like to do is say to you that it is a powerful experience which you can share with those that you live with, or with the faculty or community, groups, colleagues.

The impact of listening to people that have been given their voice, brought into a community of hope and support, and then the impact that happens as they take on leadership roles. You will see, if you join me for one of my tours I host through Beyond Borders upcoming here in the next couple of months, if you will come along, you will hear from Elia. And Limeteze now will speak about the power of this woman, Elia who was rescued herself from a life of shame and slavery and has turned around to become a leader in developing her community.

Limeteze Pierre-Gilles: Whenever I listen to Elia telling her story, first of all, I just wish that it never happened. I just wish, like she said in the video, she wished that someone had been there for her. I just wish that it hadn’t happened to her. And the other thing that comes through my mind also is that, I wish there were more Elia, there were more of her to prevent the children from suffering the way that she suffered and the way that we know some children are still suffering. So that’s why this work is not just the work of Beyond Borders, it’s not just the work of the Elias out there, but it’s all our work. We all have a role to play in this work for the sake of the children.

Norah L. Jones: Our identity makes us unique. And you’re about to hear Limeteze answer my question, “Why is it that you are doing this? What is your background? What is your identity that you’ve found that when you found your voice, you wanted to partner through your organization with Beyond Borders in this case?” What’s your call? What’s your background? What’s your voice and identity? To what are you being called?

Limeteze Pierre-Gilles: As School Sisters of Notre Dame, NSSND, my province, the community has a partnership with Beyond Borders, and we have decided and we had chosen to enter into this partnership with Beyond Borders because after we’ve learned of the work of Beyond Borders, we know that there was like a great match, a great fit.

Our mission, both the mission of the school sisters of Notre Dame and the mission of Beyond Borders, were really aligned. Because we are as School Sisters of Notre Dame, we are founded for the education of women and girls for the transformation of the world really. And we see in Beyond Borders, an organization that is doing just that. And one thing that I think all of our sisters can repeat and say and testify to is the fact that Beyond Borders does not do for Haitians, Beyond Borders support Haitians in their own struggles for liberation.

Norah Jones: You can tell it was powerful and a delight to speak personally with Limeteze for me, can’t you? And in just a few moments, I’ll give you a chance to be able to hear her live in one of the tours that I’m going to propose that you consider in your life or for others. But one of the things that I found was fascinating is when I first contacted Limeteze directly, she immediately understood that language was the key. I didn’t prompt this next part. I just asked her to make sure that she had a chance to express the last things that she wanted us to know about Beyond Borders, about its identity and its work, and about the call that might be on all of us.

Limeteze Pierre-Gilles: As somebody who is an expert in language and with language, with our use of language, we can either help build great, amazing relationships, and at the same time we can also crush them, right? So building relationship, first of all, is key.

Getting to know Haiti on a different level, like David would say beyond the headlines, is key. Getting to know some Haitians, getting to know the history, do a little bit of homework is key, because one thing that you will hear David say doing the tour is that our liberations are bound up together. I cannot be free until you are free. You cannot be free until I am free. If we do a little bit of homework, getting to know the history of the country, getting to know Haitians on a different level, go a little bit deeper than what we’ve seen on the news, perhaps that can help shed a new light, to see Haitians and the country beyond just the surface of what we’ve seen, what we’ve experienced.

Norah L. Jones: I hope that you found these segments by Limeteze as well as the background for the Beyond Borders interview that I did as having an impact in your life, be it an invitation to you or a prompt to celebrate what you’re doing, or a thought about sharing this possible invitation with others.

So when you go on my website, you’ll see this also. Again, fluency.consulting is my website. It will provide you direct access to beyondborders.net, that’s beyondborders.net. And when you go on Beyond Borders, you will see an option to take a virtual tour of Haiti. If you click on that picture, you will see that there are a variety of tours for which you can sign up. I am hosting, as I mentioned earlier in this podcast, three of these meetings. They’re informational, they are not fundraising. They are informational and they are powerful.

Again, this is an invitation for you to feel what it is you’re experiencing in your life and potentially an invitation to this. But the tour has big impact at the heart. You will see that there are three sessions. So go ahead and press the menu and find those three, and choose one of those if you will, if you can. I greatly invite you to do that. You’ll see my name, Norah L. Jones, next to three of those dates.

Norah L. Jones: The 45 minutes you will experience of the team and especially of hearing those voices, including the one of Elia and her video that both I and Limeteze referred to, I think you’ll find extremely powerful.

So when we step back and we take a look at how we can build relationships, how we help each other to grow, how love can break chains, as the website beyondborders.net says. How we can, again, bind our liberation up together as Limeteze said that the staff member David speaks about in the tour. Take a look then at what did we learn today together, all of us, about the nature of language applied, nature of language finding voice, nature of language helping us to belong and communicate together, and the nature of language to bring impact in the world.

Norah L. Jones: Thank you very much for listening to this podcast. I hope to see some of you or groups of you at one of those virtual tours. But whatever it is that you do, thank you for looking for the impact of language in the life you lead, and the difference you make for the betterment of the world.

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