Today we were asked to write about a life lesson we have learned on this trip and how we will use it to influence our daily life back home. Although I acknowledge the prompt, I am going to stray from it a little in writing about a lesson that has followed me throughout my life and has now solidified during this trip. This lesson was initially introduced to me at an early age by my father who still drills it in every time he gets the chance. This lesson is sometimes a call and response, and it often comes in many variations. The most common being, “how do you eat an elephant,” and usually if I’m not being snarky the response is “one bite at a time.” This quote resembles how all things take time and although in one bite you might not see any overall progress you must persist and persevere through hard times. As I learn more about Shoulder-to-Shoulder throughout my stay here in Panama, I find that although my individual impact is just a fraction of the overall organization, to the kids I might stick in their memories forever. This rather simple quote pushes me to realize my purpose here and fight through the prolonging exhaustion. This realization of mine has allowed me to open a new eye to a schoolwide project that we do annually. This project being the care bags for the homeless. Each bag provides the necessities for living, such as hygiene products and clothing. This past year I did not hand out any care bags because I thought that it would do no good and nobody would appreciate it, as it is just one bite of the existing problem. After this trip I now realized that even one bite can make a lasting impact. Even though my three bites might not be visible in the overall goal I know I took them, and I’m proud of the impact I’ve made.
20th of July, 2023