Saturday, March 26, 2011

Leaving the Birds Nest

We all want to grow up we’re desperate to get there. To grab all the opportunities we can, to live. We are so busy to get out of that nest we don’t think about the fact that its going to be cold out there. Really freaking cold. Because growing up sometimes means leaving people behind. And by the time we stand on our own two feet, we’re standing there alone.  College was the first time I was really forced out of my comfort zone. I moved away from my family, and had to make decisions for myself. I was “alone,” or so I thought. However, I still had friends from high school at my college and I was only an hour away from my family. I still called my mom and friends on a regular basis asking them for advice. I remember one time calling my mom freshman year to ask her if it was okay that I skipped a class!  So looking back now it was more like I was standing on one foot rather than two.  Jump ahead 5 years. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer. Living in a foreign country. For any of you who are or were in the Peace Corps you will know what I’m talking about, but for those of you who aren’t and reading this let me explain. From the moment you start your application process into the Peace Corps they lead you by hand in every step of the way. Everything from where to sign, who to call, to what to pack. They put you in a hotel, book your flight, and give you money for food. Fast forward to training. During training you are told when to get up, when to go to class, where is good to eat, where is bad, what kind of volunteer you should be, what to look out for, even when to do your shopping, the list can go on forever and forever. My point is you’re the bird in the nest. Frustrated and trying like all hell to get out of that nest to be an official PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER. Well fast forward to today. I am an official Peace Corps Volunteer. And what have I learned? Be careful what you ask for. I don’t mean this in a bad way by any means. But here I am, kicked out of my nest, standing on my own two feet (for real this time), and alone. I have my assignment, I have my site, and I have simple knowledge of the language. Now what? I…have…no…idea. I’m suppose to teach, and ultimately make this a better place when I leave then when I came. Great, now how am I supposed to do that again?  I’m battleing this fine line of trying to help and trying not to be pushy. Like I said in a previous post, change is a difficult thing. Most people want it, yet fear it. I knew that I wanted to change for myself and make a change around me, but I didn’t account for the fact that the people around me might not be ready to change. It’s a fine line trying to suggest changes, and forcing things upon them that they don’t want or are ready for. I have all of this energy and ideas, but I don’t know if I should act on them. Things are just so complicated. My process goes like this: I have an idea let’s say…. starting a reading program in the village or opening up a medical clinic. First I have to find out if the villagers even like the idea. Seems like a simple thing you either say yes or no. But no, not, here, ambiguity is like a second language so what seems like a simple answer- yes or no, turns into beating around the bush, round about answers, or no answers at all. I don’t know if it’s because people think that if I bring this idea to them its going to be because I want their help, or if they just don’t care. Whichever the case it can be pretty tricky. However, after I do come up with a general concensous the next task has to be funding. How am I going to get the money? Who offers what? How much do I need? Etc. etc. Along with the funding I also have to figure out which organization or company I need to go through that will help me with my project. Finally, and probably the most trying aspect of this whole process is timing. A snail on its deathbed moves faster than time here. Patience is key, and persistence is a must. Anything I want done I have to keep pushing for. I have no problem being patience, persistent and pushing. To me that’s the easiest part of this whole operation. Maybe its because I have full control of that, and I can be patient, persist, and push as much or as little as I want. However, the hard part is working around all of the dynamics. The social dynamics of the people in the village. The emotional dynamics of wants, needs, likes, and dislikes of individuals. And the financial dynamics of figuring out funding, resources, etc. Make a change I said, “be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi said. But there’s a problem with those statements…its based on the change happening soley from one individual. I’ve learned that is impossible. To change things you need partners, helpers, listeners, and friends among so many others. Nevertheless, like so many other people in this world, I tried so very hard to get out of that nest, to “stand on my own two feet.” And what happened?  I am, alone, and trying to figure out how to get things done. How to make a change that people want. By myself none the less because I’m out of the nest. The nest is where the real change can happen. The phrase, there is more power in numbers holds true here. Things in the nest aren’t this complicated, hell you don’t have to deal with stuff like this at all. But here I am, on my own two feet, praying… that I don’t fall flat on my face.

No comments:

Post a Comment