The clip above is an often referenced phrase that I picked up while attending business school during my undergrad. As a sales technique–and life technique–I’d say it is pretty solid. It’s short, it’s catchy, and surely you can’t forget your ABCs once you know it 😂
Alright, so back to this blog post. Living on the other side of the planet, where life happens to include far more challenges than I have ever experienced before in my 20-something years on Earth, I’ve been struggling to stay positive. It really isn’t the lack of accommodations that wear you down, but the constant insights into why poverty exists. It is troubling to begin to see the layers of something as complex as this (actually, it isn’t complex at all), especially when you see it happening over and over again.
A couple of weeks ago, while going out with my Peace Corps friends in the capital, we ran across a Peace Corps Volunteer from the very first group to serve in our country of Timor-Leste. We were all psyched (mildly star-struck, too) to meet this guy. He served in about the years of 2002-2004, almost 15 years ago, and he actually lived in the village I live in currently, known as Tibar. We were able to talk about how drastically different and improved life in Timor has gotten since his time. For example, Tibar is now a rural suburb, but when he was living here, there wasn’t even a road, let alone a large collection of houses! He also experienced far more health issues than many Timorese face today, which really shows that health has improved. Essentially, things were better, even though they are still quite hard.
Here are videos I enjoyed watching before I ended up in Peace Corps:
Can you tell that I love John Green?
Okay, so if you only watched parts of these videos, or not at all, that is okay (buuuuut you really should if you are a person who sometimes gets cynical about the current state of our world).
I was reminded of these videos a couple of days ago when one of the latest videos from Vlogbrothers on YouTube went up:
Now, what I love about re-watching these videos after spending nearly 10 months in the developing world is that I can actually see on the ground how things are much better than before. I was talking to my host-grandmother a few weeks ago about how access to education has improved since her time, which would’ve been about 40 years ago. I had a classic ‘your generation has it so much easier’ moment–when she was attending primary and secondary school, she had to walk for 4 hours… one way. Now, her grandchildren need only walk half an hour up the road.
Another couple of weeks before that, I ran into an old friend from my training village. Last I saw her, she was finishing high school, and had plans to go to university. I worried this wouldn’t actually end up happening–around the same time, one of my favorite girls in the village wasn’t able to go to school for a few days simply because her family wanted her to do house work instead. She’s only 10 years old. But, fast forward, and the older girl has finished high school, moved to the city, and is now pursuing a degree in economics!
Life out here moves pretty slow–actually, it does that everywhere, really. It is hard to realize how much better life is getting without zooming out to the bigger picture. Things might be hard, but… you should always be celebrating. There is something good happening somewhere 😊