Sziasztok! My name is Taylor, and I’m an American volunteer serving with Phiren Amenca in Budapest.
I was raised in New England by a Welsh mother and an American father, spent my adolescence in upstate New York, and went to college in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Roanoke, Virginia (see photo 😊). I’m an ethnobotanist – my work involves cataloguing the ways that people and plants have evolved together over centuries, and in particular, the ways that people tell stories about the natural and spiritual world around them. As a botanist, and as Christian raised in America, I’m very interested in this idea of storytelling through generations, and I’m interested in the capacity and strength of historical memory to shape our identities. It affects how we interact with the natural world, with each other in community, and with governance. And it also affects how we think about justice.
My sending organization is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. I’m part of a program called Young Adults in Global Mission, which is grounded in liberation theology and decolonial thought. I’m here in Budapest to learn Hungarian stories, and in particular the stories of Roma Hungarians, to understand how identities are shaped here, how justice is pursued here, and how people in Hungary are pushing for a more equitable world.