Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 17: D.I.Y.

I want to finish my '30 Days of Asante' posts now that I'm starting to get back in the swing of things. That said, life is far from fluid and I'm still about 12 days out from being able to unpack my suitcases and settle down for a bit. I leave Orange County tomorrow and I've loved visiting with old friends and even newer friends from Kenya who happen to be in town. I've also tried to give myself some downtime so I haven't seen everyone I wanted to - I've needed the days to get organized and put out feelers for work while I begin to get back into school-mode so I can continue working on my project.

As I've unwound in the borrowed spaces of treasured friends I've noticed moments of silence and stillness that suddenly ring with profound appreciation for beauty in the everyday. I come across articles, songs and stories describing tender moments and suddenly my eyes are leaking. It's like the semi-hardness that I developed trying to deal with my own inadequacies in the face of need has started to melt away, and I'm finally able to process the beauty and pain of reality just as it is.

The lovely ladies behind Raven+Lily shared this article today and I had to pass it on. Personally, I've always been drawn to international issues, motivated by the global citizen identity that so much of my upbringing, activities and education has fostered. I have had the flexibility of being young and single, and the time and savings to explore how international development is practiced and what is and isn't working. Having the freedom and drive to do so has set me on a path that has been absolutely critical in the evolution of my understanding not just of global development issues, but of humanity (and our commonality) as a whole.

My time in Kenya has yet to result in a specific mission or organization that I felt a need to start in order to elevate these lessons. I think I am better suited to raising awareness about existing organizations I believe in like Rotary - which empowers everyday people to join forces while promoting strong standards, partnership, and an empowerment mentality. I think this statement from the article summarizes what the organizations and individuals I am drawn to hope to address: "The challenge is to cultivate an ideology of altruism, to spread a culture of social engagement — and then to figure out what people can do at a practical level."

When I talk to people who are in careers that are either low paying or extremely demanding time wise, I often hear a sense of powerlessness in the face of inequality and need. But take a look at the article and how inspiring the individuals who are practicing D.I.Y. foreign aid are (and for those whose passion lies in addressing more local needs, these models can be applied to domestic challenges as well). I especially love this organization, One Day's Wages, because it recognizes that none of us are so limited that we can't make a profound difference in someone's life. I hope that as I adjust back to life in the U.S. I don't forget this.

Very few of us will ever be such change agents that we stand as individuals behind the innovations or inventions that revolutionize life for the masses. If we are lucky, we will touch a few lives profoundly and know that this is enough. As the first organization that took me to Africa recognized, if we all are willing to make a difference where we can - that collective difference adds up. Every time a person, article, story or moment reminds me of this I am moved to tears with the brilliant simplicity that in such acts, we can find the deepest of meaning.


wainaina said...

You did challenge me one day to check out your blog and i finally have.Seems like blogging brings out the REAL you.Wow!! Now i understand why you were sometimes sleepy in class.Reading your post,I was particularly touched with the words " none of us is so limited that we can't make a profound difference in someone's life".

Good to know that on my 30th birthday i did just that at the home of the aged and yesterday too at a childrens home. Some of this acts can never be taught,they just come from the heart:-)

Megan said...

Awe - thanks Waina! We need more of you in the world it turns out!!!

lucille said...

this is a piece of inspiration,you have made my invokes someone to be an agent of change.