This month, October of 2013, marks the 6 month anniversary of leaving Tanzania.
I cannot lie, it already feels like an alternate reality. Did it really happen? Did I really meet such amazing students, struggle as an individual and be challenged daily on what I wanted and believed, walk along dirt paths that were lined with banana trees and locals who carried their hay on their heads …
Tanzania left an impression that broadened my perspective. I am not a changed person, it did not “change my life.” What it did was make me stronger and more opinionated.
I am a stronger individual with a hands-on perspective on “international development.” I am more opinionated and believe that you cannot change a culture and you cannot change a person. You cannot force a person to adopt your opinions because you think your opinions are better. You must work with that person, understand their upbringing, understand their thought process and their culture, and EXCHANGE. Never Force. NEVER. FORCE.
Collaboration, and I meant TRUE collaboration, lacks in “international aid.” I believe people have a tendency to throw their opinions upon a group and make them change without ever trying to understand them first. This is why, I believe, that so much aid goes haywire, and why development projects never last long-term, or if they are, that some are very unhappy. Who wants to sustain something if they were first forced to start it in the first place?
What I am doing now
I am not “saving the world” and doing youth programs and influencing the lives of young people. Of course, I will get there.
Recently I moved to San Francisco, and with the cost of living being incredibly high, I snagged the first opportunity I could:
That’s me on the left, being a Segway Tour Guide.
So I’ve had to settle a bit so that I can pay the bills. I am done asking my parents to pay for my expenses, and I am moving (with baby steps) towards financial stability.
I of course, when the timing is right, will move forward so that I can continue to impact the lives of youth. In what capacity, and in what medium, I am in the midst of figuring it out. Though nothing is set in stone, Tanzania instilled in me a drive to make an impact. To collaborate and exchange and understand, before I make the decision. And to make my help optional, not forceful, so that whoever resonates with my ideas, my philosophies, and my guidance, will choose me, rather than me ever telling them what to think or do.