Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chiseling away at fantastic projects

With social consciousness on the rise, I believe most people really do want to make some sort of change. I know I would. I know the team here would. The thing that I haven't fully calculated yet is, in a postmodern world, how much difference quantifies as enough?    

Well today I thought of just this as some of the team was helping build an addition to the community playground. One project we did was chiseling bark off a tree stump. As I was doing this, I laughed to myself as I noticed the metaphor at play. Allow me to explain. If you're not familiar, chiseling is a bit of a slow process. Yet even so, if you keep chipping away, tiny pieces of bark will finally release themselves from the skin of the trunk. Piece by piece. When finished, these naked logs will double as tables and chairs, which will eventually be a friendly perk to the park.  

What I'm getting at here, and no doubt taking forever to do so, is that the Global Volunteers' efforts abstractly mirror chisel motions that have taken place in the community. Especially today. Today there was a team delivering meals through the Meals on Wheels program. Others were hard at work at the greenhouse bush hogging and doing other ground work such as picking up trash. Meanwhile, teammates were at the Native American Museum getting even more familiar with the dynamic culture. To make preparations for an art exhibit, some Global Volunteers mounted decorative masks on walls. While they were at the museum, some friends were in the library continuing to help with the huge donation while others where at the Senior Center playing checkers. Both groups of Global Volunteers said they lost, but they claimed that it was only because their opponents cheated. (I'm not too sure who to believe here.) Many of the Global Volunteers were also taken on a tour of the hospital facilities. There they learned some interesting facts, like for example, that the pharmacy fills one thousand scripts each day. Finally, the team spent the evening at a lovely ranch riding horses, eating burgers, and sharing all sorts of laughs around a camp fire, which are memories I'm sure are not to be forgotten anytime soon.  

With all this in mind, I think it's safe to say that the Global Volunteers have had yet another great day. We've chiseled our way through some fantastic projects. I think what we're doing so far really speaks to the Blackfeet view of life. Tom, a Blackfoot Indian, said it best when he was explaining to me that we're all part of the universe. I have to admit this sort of logic made me feel quite small. However, even though small, not insignificant because we are all part of something bigger.  

So while a chisel stroke may seem insignificant, we should always remember two things: one, a gesture for change will always prove to be enough, and two, being open and respecting one's culture allows us to chip away at a better us and even a better world.  

Entry submitted by: Kristal Conklin - Middletown, NY


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