Last night I turned down and invitation to go out with some friends in the city for some relaxing alone time to watch a movie in bed. A couple months ago I would have said, even if your tired, pull yourself together Valeria, get ready...lets´go! Now here I was with an incredible picnic dinner and a movie in an air conditioned room and I didn´t feel the urge to go out. Am I really starting to change?
Speaking of change, I`ve thought about it a lot lately, especially since my time in Santa Clara is almost up. Ive been questioning if i`ve left the impact that I wanted to leave in my short time here. Everytime, my answer is a little different but it hasn`t been YES.
I`ve slowly been arriving at the realization that CHANGE requires time, lots of patience, and focus. Time and focus that i didn´t really have with my accident and all the traveling we´ve done during training and the Patience that i still need to develop to ---change the things I can, accept the things I can´t, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Last night I read an article in LA VAINA (the peace corps newsletter)-THOUGHTS on EVALUATION.THe author said that when we as trainees arrive, we are quick to point out the things that do not work and we don`t take time to notice the things that do work.
The article also said that our confidence in our abilty to CHANGE things and DO THINGS BETTER is higher and our HUMILITY is lower when we arrive. As time goes by and our humility grows, our confidence tends to lower.
Reading this article I was amazed at howperfectly I fell in the category of new arrivee. How quick i´ve been to criticize flaws in the system that are seemingly simple to solve, flaws in current volunteers` air of complacence (I don´t know if thats a word), and flaws in the country as a whole.
I am begining to notice that it´s not as easy as suggesting that change happen. If it were that simple then people wouldn´t have to dedicate their whole lives to it, and countries wouldn`t find themselves on a downward spiral.
Our culture in the States teaches, encourages, and rewards hard work. I was raised in a home where my parents supported me in everything that I wanted to accomplish, always gave me the confidence to believe that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. And it just so happend to work out that way in a lot of areas of my life, school and running. I grew up with a sport that reiterates the importance of consistency, dedication, and hardwork; a sport where talent can only go so far and the rest is will power and guts.
Yet there are cultures where kids aren´t asked: What would you do if you were President? or What do you want to be when you grow up? There are cultures like, the one i´m experiencing now, that settle for the lifestyle that they were born into. To teach someone in these communities that they can achieve great things if they work hard at it is a difficult concept to get across. Something that is so simple and deeply rooted in some people, can be sooooo OUT THERE for others to grasp. In fact, it is so difficult that volunteers lose hope in their abilities. I do want to become more humble in the face of life and change but I want the confidence in my abilities to grow.
Some people whom I talk with or who read this my think that it is very romantic of me to think that I´m actually changing someone or something. And some even tell me that I am going to wake up one day to a sad reality....the reality of the REAL WORLD. When I come across people like that, I wonder why it is that I have to wake up from my world to enter theirs? I wonder the same thing about them. What will happen when they wake up one day to the REAL WORLD and realize that making money isn´t everything, that life doesn´t all have to make sense, and that there IS GOOD LEFT in the world if your willing to look for it.
I know that there are a lot of things that I could be doing right now, that would be WAYYYY more comfortable, closer to home, and easier, but then that would go against what I´ve been taught my whole life, HARDWORK PAYS OFF.
Some more Pictures of the week =)