Equality, and bringing people together. (Blue Sweater analysis)

Charles Hill - Ecuador


December 4, 2013

As part of our fellow work, we read The Blue Sweater byJacqueline Novogratz. This book is about Jacqueline’s quest to bridge the gap between rich and poor in our increasingly interconnected world.  In this book, Jacqueline donates her prized blue sweater after she outgrew it.  Eleven years later, she sees a boy in Rwanda wearing this sweater with her name tag still in it. In her book, Jacqueline helps us recognize that we are all connected and we all need to accept change.

I personally have started out my life in a hard working, but privileged family in America.  Someone on the opposite side of the world started out their lives in complete poverty.  Jacqueline helps the reader begin the question whether our different experiences make us so different?  What I have learned through this book and my own travel experiences is that the answer is a definite NO!

 We are all connected in many  ways.  We each have a childhood and face similar experiences and feelings.
We each have an understanding of what is popular and what is not.  Even though we may view popularity
completely differently, that does not mean my view is better than the other person’s view.  It simply means
that we are each individuals.

Another great example of two lifestyles merging into one is our memories.  We all have experiences that lead us through all kinds of emotions.  We have moments of pure enjoyment, and complete sadness.  Event though this looks totally differently for each of us, the experience still form our reflections and stories that we will tell for the
rest of our lives.  Our stories  will be different and possibly even exaggerated at times, but they will be filled with adventure and conflicts.

The book made me think about why is it that people from different classes and societies see themselves as better than one and another and not as equals? This is a question that I am not sure can be answered, but one we must reflect on.  In my experience many people believe that they are higher than others just because they have more wealth than someone else.

I wonder what life would be like if these differences no longer mattered?   Through reading this book and my experiences traveling, I am beginning to understand that we are all connected by the fact that we are all human beings.  We all find ourselves in the similar places and we all are fighting equally challenging problems in our interconnected world.  I am learning that people around the world have more things in common than differences.  We each have to find a way to meet our basic survival needs.   We each have directed impact on the people in our lives and we all desire respect and friendship.

As a young American traveling and living in a different country, people sometimes see me as some sort of a hero.  They see me as a way out of their path of struggle and regrets.  They see me as a sense of hope and sometimes as a sign of peace.  But, I am only eighteen years old.  My only power is my ability to share my stories and my experiences and to learn from the people around me.  I can make someone’s day a little brighter by helping him or her out, spending time with him or her or teaching him or her something new.  However, I cannot change who they are, where they live or the experiences they have had.

The theme of the Blue Sweater is that change only takes place when you want it too.  You must be the one to dedicate the time and effort into making change happen.  You have to put yourself in other people’s shoes before you start walking tall.  That is why it is so important for different lifestyles to come together and shake hands. There can never be a sense of understanding and never be change unless individuals come together.

Charles Hill