Notice the beauty

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The days pass fast one after another with energy and intensity and we are already halfway through the program.

The project Global Recognition means to recognize non-formal education, volunteering and the skills acquired during the service period.

During the training before leaving, we analyzed features, limits, and goals in the areas of communication, work, personal and social skills. Every month during the evaluation we take stock of the situation and examine the development and growth of the volunteer.

One of the goals for me to reach, among others, was to improve assertiveness, the ability to express a need in a clear and effective way without offending or attacking the interlocutor.

It has always been hard for me to express what I feel, especially if it is an unpleasant feeling or a dissent and I believe the factors are several, above all the fear of hurting others. Moreover I am very empathetic and intuitive and I expect the other to instinctively share my vision and understand where the problem may lie.

There are people who arrogantly claim to be proud of always saying what they think, not realizing, or overtaking, to trample on the other person, in order to make their own opinion prevail. I do not see it that way. According to me, everyone should work on themselves to reach the threshold of assertiveness, the middle way where aggressive people retreat a little and the passive ones pull out. Both hide insecurity and low self-esteem. By focusing on their profound value, it is possible to be authentic in the situations and confident of your beliefs, able to decide and express yourself, without attacking the other, not even vaguely.

So I am learning to express my feeling, avoiding turning it into resentment.

During the absence of the General Coordinator, for two weeks, I have been challenged on this point. I had to manage several contexts and this made me more responsible and aware of situations, roles, dynamics, allowing me to get involved and to set limits. By assuming the risk of appearing unpleasant, I could see a considerable increase in self-esteem, respect of the other person and improvement of the relationship.

My path goes on in this direction, trying to find the delicate balance between empathy and firmness, always remembering the effort to identify and accept the emotions I feel, controlling the ones opposing communication, expressing them without hesitation along with my desires and opinions and asking in a concrete and effective way what I would like to be done.

In the field of work skills I tried to improve my organization and planning skills, which include the creation of a detailed work plan and its concrete implementation.Adaptability is a quality of mine, but in this particular

Adaptability is a quality of mine, but in this particular case I adopted a proactive behavior, taking the control and starting the change, rather than responding to it by reacting.

I adopted this competence in preparing the English courses. In the first cycle, the class was composed of children, teenagers and adults and the challenge for me was to compress the program and bring it together with different levels and needs, stirring up the interest of such distinctly different age groups.

I organised differently the second cycle. The classes are divided between children and adults, adopting a playful approach and a more technical-conversational one. I invented and created handmade games and register. I split the project into a variety of activities and found the resources to be done within the set times.

In school I am helping the boys with recoveries and study for the tests they will support soon, preparing theory and exercises. Some time ago, the headmaster warned me that morning the teacher would not be present and I had to handle two classes. I find it comforting to note the hesitation that precedes the test to overcome, and then realize that I am perfectly capable of doing it. The limits are, mostly, in the mind.

The last day of school the children showed the dance that we prepared together. They were gorgeous in their Amazonian costumes.

Finally, we are organizing a holiday course for children and young people in an indigenous community with which the Arajuno Road Project has been working for a long time.

My head is a vortex of ideas, but the risk is to conclude little in the facts. Taking my time in the organization and concrete planning is useful to me, as I have a clearer and more linear view of what I am doing and where I want to go, but also and above all to the users who feel guided and perceive security, given by structure and method.

As it concerns personal and social skills, I trained my critical thinking and socio-cultural awareness. At the meetings on cultural identity, I am questioning myself, my ideas and beliefs, and I am more deeply aware of the socio-cultural reality in which I am immersed. We read Anu Taranath’s abstract about global citizenship, a professor of post-colonial literatures and post-colonial studies at Washington’s Seattle University, an article full of questions to reflect on and whose answers may change. “What are you doing here? How to connect with the discomfort of difference is all around you? Where do our similarities end and our similarities begin? What does ‘connecting across differences’ really mean? What might you or I fit into the story? ”

We consulted Kipling and his “white man’s burden”, manifesto of colonialism, analyzing similarities with the current situation. We focused on concepts of noblesse oblige and white saviourism complex, trying to at least ask questions about the roots and the deep origin of the desire and need to help those who are in need, about the impact that the intervention of a Global North country in one of the South may have.

We read the opinions of Arundhati Roy, an Indian writer and political activist in the field of the environment, human rights and anti-globalization movements, on the roles of NGOs. We questioned the responsibility of the privileged people, the rampant idea of having to sacrifice or having to travel to find oneself and the potential beneficiaries of poverty. I consulted “the concealment of the other” by the Argentine philosopher Enrique Dussel and other worthy documents. We are running a search about indigenous, African and Middle Eastern women, to understand how to be able to be concretely supportive, and I met the indigenous community of Sarayaku, who has been struggling for years to defend their land against the exploitation of oil resources, proposing the values of Kawsak Sacha (living forest, life in harmony).

I attended a lab of intercultural literature in the school, with some professors, as the appropriate enhancement of the child’s cultural identity and dignity is significant in the process of integration and learning.

The school Amauta Ñanpi is of like mind. It is a bilingual education unit castilian-kichwa, with whom I had the pleasure of getting in touch and whose goal is to convey the ancestral values of the Amazon, taking care of the indigenous cosmovision. All this and with the daily relationship with the local people, is allowing me to completely change the preconceptions and ideas I had, to rock or reconfirm them. So many questions are still unresolved, but what I think is important is the continuous research, the study, questioning, the change of perspective. I think everyone has the duty to investigate, to do self-analysis, to inquire and wonder what he can do.

This experience is giving me a lot. It is a space for exchanging, collaborating, self-discerning and experimenting. There are some moments I keep guarded inside.

A few afternoons ago, I was sitting outside, reading. A little girl living in the community ran home and soon came out with a big book, ruined at the corners. Before she sat next to me browsing a few pages and then she lied next to her sister on the ground. It was an old book on Mayan tales. They read aloud a story about monsters, and the morality, as it is true for every tale, was enlightening and about what I am going through currently. Monsters want to tell us something, they talk about us. We must listen to, accept and love our shadow, so it won’t be so scary anymore. Being far away from the things I care and with whom I report each day, I see everything, and myself, more clearly, because with a detached look; And I am accepting my monsters. I am getting to know myself more and I am learning a lot.

I resonate with the new, the adventure, the adrenaline and I tend to get tired of boredom and habit. I do not stay for a long time in the same place, even a figured one. I am curious about places and experiences, and my dual life passes through amazed enthusiasm and the need for quietness, veiled by an almost impatient melancholy. The real challenge is to see the beauty of the things become standard. I am finding the balance between the excitement for the new and the rediscovery of what I have and I often take for granted.

Desire and ambition are engines, but I want to remember I am already complete. I feel so hungry of getting somewhere, but getting where? Some nights ago, I stopped to watch the sunset and it was a real experience. Within a few minutes shapes and colors followed one another. Pink, orange, blue, purple. It was beautiful in every single moment, even when it did not have well defined shapes and was changing. I want to learn to love me even when I do not feel complete, even when I perceive myself just a potential. It seemed to be there right for me.

I am keeping a diary. I sometimes read it and I had written: “here I feel thrilled about life.” We have to take time for gratitude every day. It requires attention and care, it is not automatic. Once, long ago, my father told me that you must have something sacred in the world. He suggested me to find out what it was for me. You need to stop and remember to have it. And be thankful for that.

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