For this post, students answered the question: What do you want your impact to be? (On the community we are going to, your school, your community at home, the world, etc.).
My effect will be to help a community in any way I can and take what I learn and feel back to the United States. Being more able to respond to issues and problems in my surroundings is the first step to helping make the lives of everyone around me better. The people I help don’t have to remember me, but I want them to remember they impacted the life of someone who helped them, and I want to inspire them to do good in their own communities. I want to be a volunteer who makes others want to volunteer as well. I want to inspire everyone I help to help others with the same desires as me- growth for everyone and a drive to take action.
Whether or not I am actually doing any good is something I have thought about a lot prior to coming on this trip. I have often said, part jokingly, part not, that I could have just donated the cost of the plane ticket and it may have done more good. However, that money would probably have gone to fund a project like this one with other volunteers. Someone needs to be the one on the ground floor doing the work. Are there people more qualified to do the work? Yes. But they aren’t here; I am. Apparently, I’m the best the world has to offer in this case.
I want to have a positive effect on the world/my community. I am just not sure how to obtain that goal. I want to do whatever is feasibly possible to make people’s lives better. The one problem is that it’s pretty difficult to achieve that. Sometimes it’s hard to know what impact one action has. Also, it’s important to disregard the “savior” mentality. Our actions here probably don’t drastically change life for these people but it’s important to try to make a difference no matter how small the difference may be. I will try to have a good effect on people by realizing that we might not make a life changing difference, but by doing small things we can truly help people. We cannot predict the impact we will have, but good intentions always help. The problem comes with thinking that we will drastically change these people’s lives. We’re not saviors. These people are poor, but they are not necessarily suffering. We have come to try to help, not to save these people. If we put the amount of work we will be doing into perspective, it will help prevent us from thinking too much about ourselves.
Constantly, I struggle with accepting I won’t get to met every single person in the world. I allow myself to feel better though because I sure as hell will try. I want to talk to everyone I can and I want to be present in every moment I was given on Earth. Whether it be a smile on a stranger’s face, or setting up a water filter, I really want to do something. I am afraid that I don’t know how to help outside of an organization that set it all up for me. I am really scared that I won’t have an impact because I don’t have the resources. I don’t have the money, good grades, or the support to get out in the world and stand out. Instead, I think I am going to be a run-of-the-mill human. I know I am doing something good here, and when I return to Nicaragua, but when I inevitably have to return to my life, I am no longer doing what I love; I’m doing everything that makes me want to leave in the first place. I focus my energy on applying to colleges I can’t get into, let alone afford, and on classes I will not pass. I don’t know if I will have an effect and the thought of that sucks, but I hope I can answer that question in a few years.