The Recipe for Success
I have always thought that in order to reach a goal, you must know what goal you are chasing. On the plane, bound from Houston, I struggled to define what success of the trip would be for me. I knew a few of the parameters that would make the trip a success: the group growing closer, each member becoming more globally aware, the easily expected stuff….but talks with past ambassadors assured me that I was only scraping the top of the iceberg. It was so frustrating because I wanted to prepare myself for what would come, but it seemed impossible. I settled on the idea that we would mostly be participating in service-like projects, and would learn most things through that work. This mindset lingered in the back of my mind during the first few days in country, and surfaced when we learned that we would be “mowing” the grass in front of the school in Piscina. “Yes” I thought, “now we will get down to business!” That mindset lasted about as long as it took us to find out that the field that we were inefficiently hacking away at with machetes, could be cut by a single Honduran in an hour. One Honduran could accomplish in an hour what it would have taken 15 of us several hours to complete. This really changed my whole outlook on the trip. We could “help” the villagers with any of their day-to-day activities about as effectively as they could help us write English papers, hardly at all that is. Suddenly, I came to the full realization that we would benefit most by learning from the villages, not by serving them. I am extremely grateful that I reached this conclusion early in the trip because it made the rest of my experiences in the country so much richer. It is near impossible to truly explain to people how much I learned by milking cows, chopping firewood, hauling trees, pumping water, and giving away my watch. But, experiencing these things has given me an entirely new outlook on my priorities, attitude, and goals.