Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Hard Questions

Alright, I’ll say it. I don’t know what I’m doing here.

Don’t get me wrong…I love EduCARE. I love the interns (my family-away-from-family), the community, the organisation. I love the opportunity we are given here, the chance to explore whatever draws our interest. I love the crazy Indian traffic, the wandering cows, and (somehow) even the bucket showers. What I love just a little bit less is all the damn thinking required!

With the COM Team and Project Director hanging around Gajner, we have had a (large!) number of meetings and discussions. For me, the common theme behind all of these discussions: asking hard questions.

Why are you here? What are you hoping to accomplish? Should we even be here in the first place? What is your personal/centre/organisational/community vision? How does your project contribute to these visions?Why, why, why?! All of these bloody questions really made me stop and think…

Back home, with the fast pace of life, competing deadlines and priorities, I found it very easy to get sucked into it all. At times I felt as though I was following a script; progressing through life’s checkpoints without much critical thought.Highschool grad? – Check. University? – Check. ‘Real’ job?... Marriage?... House?...

Here at EduCARE, that script is removed. The structure I was used to, relied on (?), is nowhere to be seen. What is left in that space? What exists without that structure? After four months of work here and a lot of learning, my short answer would be: a lot of hard questions, as well as personal opportunity and growth.

Following our discussions with COM, the centre has started thinking about what all of these questions mean for us. Specifically, what is our vision for the centre? Although at first glance answering this question may seem easy, we have learned that it is much more difficult to express when you start putting your mind into it.

Gajner crew thinking hard...

Our centre visioning process has only just begun, but so far it has brought out some interesting insights. At the end of our first meeting, there may have even been some mediocre-enthusiastic applause (thanks for the prompting Shama!). Our hope is that by exploring these tough questions, we can bring all of our projects and personal directions together to push the centre work forward.

With all of this blabbering about hard questions and the future, what about the present?As cliché as it may sound, I will say this: always take the time to stop, think, and truly take in the moment. As easy as it can be to forget, we here in EduCARE are living a one-in-a-million experience. We are young people given big responsibility, are part something bigger than ourselves, where our only real limitation is our own creativity and imagination. Never lose sight of this, and enjoy every moment of your internship - the good and the bad.

So where does this leave me? What am I doing here in EduCARE India? Although I haven’t quite found the answer, I’ve asked the question - I think that is a good start.

P.S. For those who were wondering, question mark count: 15

Tom Zadorsky - Canada
Alternative Energy Coordinator - Gajner (Rajasthan)

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