Impact in Everyday Life

nothing to do
When entering into a different culture, my favorite part of it is the everyday life. It’s the best way to learn about a society, and the best avenue to make an impact on it. I’m not a huge fan of programs or events, though they’re good and have their place. But for me, they’re just draining, and are more of a presentation than an interaction.

What do I enjoy? Learning to cook the local food. Learning my way through the streets. Going to local shops. Taking public transportation. Helping with the daily chores. Sitting down for hours and just talking.

For example, I’ve spent several hours just sitting with some people and talking. Through that, I’ve learned so much about their world. The conversation is so much more real than if I held a meeting to ask for their thoughts. But more than that, I experience their world.

One of the main issues here in Kibera is idleness. There’s a lack of jobs, and so people have nothing to do but sit around. From that, a lot of other social issues stem, like alcoholism, crime, violence, etc. It’s one thing to hear that from them. It’s another thing to sit with them all afternoon with literally nothing to do, and to feel that boredom and frustration welling up inside me.

It’s also through the everyday routines that I feel like I have the most impact. I can get up in front of a crowd and give a great speech. But I think it has more impact when I am just sitting next to them, sipping a cup of tea, looking straight into their eyes, and giving my thoughts.

Again, programs and events are great. But I think sometimes we rely so much on them in an attempt to create opportunities for impact that already exist in the everyday life.

Oh, and I slaughtered a chicken. How’s that for everyday life?

holding chicken down

slaughtered chicken done

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