Maybe in a past life I lived in Texas. Go big or go home tends to align with every goal I set. I dream big. As an eight year old into drama, I’d dress up in this olive green dress and practice my Oscar speech for best actress in the mirror. (Still working on this one). In high school I aspired to have the entire junior class attend the Halloween dance. (It wasn’t the entire class, but it got so out of control they canceled it the following years ). In college, I wanted to raise overs $100k for ZTA foundation’s support of breast cancer education and awareness during BMOC, nearly a $10k increase from the following year (we raised $111K). I applied to a top international relations school and just got my acceptance letter today! And now I want to fund the entire sustainable agriculture program for SCCDO where I am teaching in cambodia to feed the school kids and give them proper nutrition, a $15k undertaking just to get started. Approx $885 dollars a month just for food. TOO BIG!?
The executive director of SCCDO, Piseth, visited us in the classrooms today and later sat us down in the hot box office to share his story. We choked back tears as his twisted childhood and loss of his father during Khmer Rouge made its way to our hearts. The history of the school is quite inspirational, but the funds to keep this NGO dream of housing orphans, feeding impoverished children, and providing them with an education, are dwindling. My heart sinks knowing the three teachers are working without a salary. It’s the wetness in their eyes, and the selflessness of their souls that makes me want to drop everything in my life and help them in a big way. TOO BIG?
But reality and corruption and trust takes its toll on your mind. There is a lot of corruption in Cambodia and you wonder who and how to trust. Will you ever truly know where your money is going? One reassuring aspect is the construction impeding on our classrooms’ attention span (walls are drilled and placed as we teach) is direct action from the $2000 donation a volunteer gave last week. The couple from Norway, who are the most financially sound donars of SCCDO, visited the school to see its progress, just yesterday.
And then I tell myself just to focus small. Instead of trying to fund an entire program, maybe just buy a sachel of rice to feed the kids for one week. Where is my line? How do I balance my compassion against reality? When do I take a step back and accept that just my time teaching is making a difference? At what point is my effort enough?
They are so grateful for anything. I am grateful to be here with the children and doing my best explaining composition and the differences between writing in first and third person (today’s lesson).
One breath, one small step at a time. I can dream big, but I have to just have patience and accept my efforts to get there. Think global act local is a good mantra for me. If day by day I am making a difference in myself, with a child, in a community, maybe it’s that string of events that changes the world for the better. At least I hope so.
Share your EEE Moment! Your SEOT?