I’m officially back at site, and over the past 2 weeks I’ve begun to realize some things about myself that are forming some new goals for my PC service. During IST, I spoke to many of my stage-mates, and I realized that I needed a new perspective. So I compiled a list of goals for myself that I want to work on everyday during service. I’m about to be very honest, so be warned.
Smile More- It’s emotionally draining to constantly be frustrated by the little things. In a foreign country there will always be those “little things” that are hard for me to deal with. It’s hard to not take it personally when seller price discriminates against you because of the color of your skin and their belief that you have money. It’s hard to not take it personally when someone in the street doesn’t believe that you are an American because you are of Asian descent. It’s hard to not take it personally when children approach you, not to say hi, but to say “give me cookies” or “give me ice cream” or “give me 100 cfa.” During my first 3 months of service, I found my heart heavy with the everyday interactions like these. However, if I let these small things get to me, I’ll begin to lose sight of who I am, and why I am here. With something as simple as a smile, it can send a chain reaction back to my brain to see the good in every situation. I’ve already tried it today, and I have found this to be true.
Be present- In my previous post I talked about something called a “First Year Action Plan,” and it was me sitting with my bosses discussing what projects they want me to enhance, start, and explore. I left the room feeling extremely overwhelmed about where I should even to begin. There is just so much agriculture work to be done at my site. Instead of focusing constantly on the future, and anticipating what I need to do, my goal is to be present. I want to work hard and do my best on my current projects and what is at hand. My goal is live my service in a way that allows me to do good work and build relationships that will be sustainable and filled with love.
Stop complaining- This goal works in conjunction as my first one, but this one is more of a life goal. As Philippians 2:14 perfectly states “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” I think when I complain I begin to see things in a negative light instead of focusing on the positive. Once again, I think with negativity I will tend to be more frustrated than accepting of the culture I am currently living in. Also complaining can be weighing on those around me (if you have every been on the receiving end of someone complaining, you know, it isn’t fun). I realize a life without complaining is pretty unimaginable and impossible, but my goal is to minimize it as much as possible. I want to cherish my short time here. At the end of this month it’ll be 6 months since I arrived in country, that’s SO CRAZY! In my mind, time is at a stand still while I am here. My service is already flashing before my eyes, and I don’t want to miss anymore of it. I want to love my experience, and love what I do, so I am going to put away all my negativity.
Currently my most prized possession (along with my washboard haha!), it’s the pendant of my necklace. No it’s not a monster, it’s an outline of Senegal with the dot emphasizing my site.
Don’t let my mood dictate my day- Often times, I will wake up and not want to get out of bed because the “outside world” is just not something I can deal with that day. Or that I just feel so down because my language is not where I hoped it would be after this long in country, and I can’t bear to use it and embarrass myself (on a side note, my language is very average, but I still have a hard time not feeling frustrated with myself). On days like this, even my counterpart has noticed that something is in my head, and he ends up always encouraging me so that I get back into the stride of my work. I don’t like this feeling, I don’t like that the way I wake up dictates my feelings and perspective for the rest of the day. I want to start every day fresh with good vibes and radiate goodness throughout all that I do.
I’m sure you’ve probably noticed all my goals revolve around positivity, keeping in mind my identity, and my purpose for coming here. Overall I want to get the most out of my service: grow in my identity, gain knowledge in agriculture (and all fields), and discover new things. The best way to do that is by seeing my service through a kind, forgiving, and positive eye, so that’s what I’ll attempt to do! You can expect a report from me in the next couple months!