After reading some of the issues going on in Congo, a friend wrote that he felt he was being asked to solve the US debt problem. This is a fairly common feeling that my friend simply expressed. Yes, the problems and challenges here and in many countries seem to be huge and often we feel overwhelmed. With some people here, this is an ongoing conversation…what to do? Can we actually make any difference? How do we do something meaningful when there is a war going on? How do we make a decision when we don’t have all the information? What can I offer someone who’s life experience is so radically different than mine – I have not been raped, I have not seen my family killed infront of me, etc. etc.
There are the big picture issues – things like the war that needs to be resolved, corruption that needs to stopped, emotional trauma that needs to be dealt with, infrastructure that needs to be built, and forgiveness that needs to be given, etc. But there are things that we can do, some of which we have no idea about the impact they will have, some of which we know will have positive impact. Yesterday, I met a young girl of 17 who was the spokesperson for a child parliament that we have helped to run. An extremely articulate 17 year old who has been to New York to speak before the UN. I heard stories of other children involved in this child parliament and the way they are challenging and tackling issues within their communities, speaking up and giving a voice. Many of these youth are extremely articulate, thoughtful, and very smart. At the end of the day, we don’t know what will happen with these children a year from now, 5 years from now, 10 or 20 years from now. Yet there is hope that the skills they learn in this process will be applied as they become leaders in their communities, provinces, and country.
We never know the full impact of our actions – postive or negative – yet if we wait to know the outcome before starting, nothing will get done.