i believe in the human family. i believe that we are all connected. i believe this because i have experienced it in the many corners of the world.
this july in guatemala i remembered what i’ve learned in lots of countries – the eternal, real, consummate lesson that we are all brothers and sisters. no matter what else is happening around us, no matter how profound our differences are, there is a human connection that ties us all together and we feel, in flashes of quiet but great glory, that we are one.
there are so many ways that we can and do go about working to alleviate poverty and reach out to the needy. although world problems are huge and seem untackleable at times, and although i am so aware of the many, many problems that prevent true impact and sustainability in the developing world, i am really grateful for people who are making worthy, genuine efforts to make a difference. and i feel blessed to have been involved in several of these efforts throughout my life. we are only putting some tiny drops in a ginormous bucket, but they are drops of hope and help just the same.
amidst all the projects and work that go into humanitarian causes, i believe that in an eternal way, often the most powerful aid is not the buildings and the clinics and the resources or even the opportunities that are created. for me, the most significant impact is personal, inter-cultural, symbiotic exchange – connecting the synapses of the human family. basic, beautiful person-to-person interaction is often the best kind of service.
feeling a bit defeated one of our first days working in the villages of the stunning polochic valley, i met this little girl (above). i interacted with her. she noticed that i cared enough to spend time with her. without language as a common friend, we developed a game of staring into each other’s eyes – and the first to smile lost. (for the record, i was repeatedly the winner.) i sat on that dirty step in the middle of nowhere and noticed my reflection in her dark, dark eyes. i saw myself in her – this little girl with a life totally and completely different than mine. and my heart burned and the sky smiled and in that tiny moment, we both made the world better by connecting with each other. we were sisters and we were happy.
there is something about two-way human connection that grows our hearts and braids us together and we are touched for good. boundaries of age, experience, culture, language, tradition and circumstance are pummeled and everyone is improved for having related with a wildly different but then wildly kindred human being.
i went into my experience in guatemala very critically minded, having thought a lot about the authenticity of foreign humanitarian aid. i was incredibly impressed with the genuine impact of our projects and most of all i was reminded that the sweetest positive influence can come silently and without any materials but human spirit.