There are those times in your service when you just feel defeated. You question why you are even here. Why did you leave your comfortable life for this? What is the point? Why do I endure these unnecessary hardships? Then one day you find your strength to go to one more meeting. To get up and bike or walk the two miles to the school you work in, of to meet with the local adults to teach them reading basics. Even though these are worthy and needed activities they somehow fall outside of your “requirements” for your service. This becomes painfully clear when you go to do your quarterly reports and of the three parameters you are supposed to try to meet, nothing you did falls in those areas.
It is at those moments when you feel completely defeated and you wonder how things could be going so terribly. Just because these do not fall in your requirements, does not mean that they are not beneficial or needed. Sometimes you have to let go of your goals and expectations. Sure I am supposed to be doing environmental work, but I have spent the last 4 months facilitating the creation of a community group, trying to work in two local schools, who still have yet to have one single environmental club meeting, or creating a literacy group and a reading club. Not one of these actually fall into my required areas, but I have found that my requirements do not always fit into the needs of the community. Flexibility is my greatest strength. It will be yours as well. Let go of your strict interpretation of what you are supposed to be doing. Let it organically happen.
So what if the only real goal I hit was environmental demonstrations to a small group of local men who helped build my school gardens. So what if the kids only just last week planted those gardens. So what if I have not any tangible results. You know what I do have? I have some small successes. I have adults who could not read at all, now able to read sentences and build up their confidences. I have many of the roads in the area with new road signs/names. I have a community group that is now organizing a community clean-up. I have Zik-v prevention signs that were voluntarily put up. I have kids who are excited to see me and really want to go work in the dirt. So yeah there are things I do have and next quarterly report I will have a huge reporting quarter.
Sometimes it takes walking away and trying to find a balance and understanding that things are improving little by little in your community. The main point is to build relationships and help a community out, this I have accomplished. As long as I have tried my hardest, that really should be enough. Better to have failures than not trying anything. Fear of failure is very paralyzing, it wipes out your confidence, you community’s confidence in you and wears down your self-esteem. I live by the motto, what is the worst thing that can happen? Oh right, it fails and we learn why.
Remember to just get up everyday and do something. It is far better to try than to sit in misery worrying about failure! Trust me!