Monday, November 30, 2009

Small victories

"To lose your way is to find it." Swahili proverb

So I've come to a realization that I thought I had come to and immersed myself with this understanding however recently I was shaken out of it and have found my way back to this understanding.

One year and a few weeks have passed since I made my journey into the unknown life of a Peace Corps Volunteer. One year has passed as I continue to see the world in a different light.

At one point I thought I had realized that in a short time such as two years, I was more likely to change than the community I was living and working with.
Now, certainly, there are plenty of NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) and other organizations that stay here for a longer period of time and even then they are not always able to make a lasting difference.

I thought I had realized a few months ago that the best thing to do is to make a small difference in the lives of some people in small ways.
I thought I had realized that me making a large measurable impact on my community was something that is realistically not achievable.
I thought I had realized that I would change more than my community when I came.

Somewhere along the lines, probably recently, I lost this understanding and began to think/feel that I have accomplished nothing in my first year. Given that I have not been in one place for the entire time, things have turned out to be slightly different.

At any rate, thanks to a brainstorming session with another volunteer in Garissa, I got my head screwed back on right.

I've realized again that the largest impact I will make will actually be a combination of small victories with smaller projects or planting of ideas or small things to do.
For example, inspiring Kenyans to volunteer: small victory(?), measurable? no.
Another example: passing on computer skills to Kenyans: small victory (individually perhaps?), measurable? no (at least not the full impact of them having gained the skills).

That is how I've lost my way to find it again.

I wonder in what other ways I might have lost my way to and have not yet realized it to find it again.. hmmm.. a topic for another blog another day. :)

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