This post is part of Blogging Abroad’s 2017 New Years Blog Challenge, week four: Change and Hope.
I have been feeling pretty hopeless and helpless lately (like so many of you). Fortunately, I am here in Colombia, living my long-time dream of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. It was a dream that I had because I grew up with a lot of hope (heck, I was born with hope, thanks to my parents*) – I hoped for bright futures for all peoples around the world, regardless of their age, gender, religion, skin tone, sexual orientation, or abilities. I wanted to help people realize their dreams. I’m not sure I’m actually doing that; even though on my Volunteer Report Form I say that I am impacting x number of people in x way positively, this same positive change could very well happen without my presence.
Regardless, when I start feeling hopeless thanks to news from around the world, I am in the fortunate position of being able to look around me and see things that restore my hope. Things that remind me that despairing is futile. Things that remind me that all the good in the world is worth fighting for.
What are these things?
- Witnessing three graduations. Through these celebrations I saw people achieve a goal, complete one step that will lead them closer to achieving their dreams. Graduation is something that many of us take for granted (I certainly did – for both of mine); it’s easy to forget how many obstacles people may have to face in order to get to that stage, shaking the hand of their principal.
- A participant in the photography workshop I had for kids. He was so excited to express himself with a camera that he filmed himself every day to record the process. He wants to – and will – make his mark on the world.
- Seeing Colombia’s lawmakers take action to address issues that the nation is facing environmentally. New measures have been put in place in an attempt to discourage littering and other actions that make public spaces unsanitary.
- The students who came to my English club during their school vacation. These same students are also taking another supplementary class. These are students working towards the best possible scores on the nation’s all-too-important standardized test in order to earn university scholarships.
- There are now at least five dogs in my neighborhood who receive daily walks. Daily I see more and more dogs being cared for in ways that will ensure happier and healthier lives.
- More and more girls keep showing up to start playing rugby. They are fighting the idea that rugby is a boys’ sport and showing how strong and fierce women can be.
- All of the faces of all of the children and youth that I have the pleasure of working with.
What is giving you hope these days? What is keeping you fighting for positive change?
*y’know, cause Hope is my middle name
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