Tonight the fellows had one of our bi-montly conference calls that we use to check in with one another and talk about the latest and greatest news. This evening we had the pleasure and privilege of having documentary film-maker and “citizen journalist” Tori Hogan on the line to tell us some of what she encountered in her own experience with international aid. Specifically, Tori’s films focus on the efficacy of international aid, and in our discussion she brought up the idea of making sure our expectations of our roles were realistic. Her wise commentary brought to mind a witticism of my father’s, passed on to me jokingly on many occasions: “Set your expectations low, and you’ll always be pleasantly surprised.”
(I should mention that I’m talking about my expectations of my efficacy here– my expectation of the incredible impact the program will have on me as a person is still resting in the clouds.)
While I would like to believe that I have all the answers, that this gap year is all about me and how much I can contribute… it’s not. I’m just a 17 year old kid. I’ve got a big heart, shining idealism, and I’m willing to do something different, but I’ll be honest, I have no idea what the Guatemalan citizens I will be serving even need. The good news is: they do. Like Matt in episode one (I’m talking about Tori’s mini-films. Check out episode 1 here: http://www.beyondgoodintentions.com/episode1.html) I am just a bridge.
Anyway, I’m trying to set my expectations realistically. While I may not be the bustling traffic rushing to and fro with solutions, I will at least try to be the best bridge I can be to support the flow of ideas and resources. If my daddy’s right then I may just be pleasantly surprised.