As I came to the end of my time in Bangladesh, my personal and professional feelings were conflicted. On the one hand, living in Bangladesh was one of the most difficult experiences I have ever had to endure in my life. On the other hand, it was also one of the most personally rewarding and eye-opening. If living in Russia loosened my blinders on the world, then Bangladesh stripped them away completely. The question that has often been raised within my heart is, what can I do with this new found knowledge about how people live and how our very small actions can impact them so greatly?
This, I think is the ultimate question in education, especially in the field of international education. How can I, a single, white, woman from Utah (ooh-tah? Where's that?) make any difference whatsoever in the course of world politics? Where do I fit in?
When I was a kid*, one of my favorite comebacks was "What does that have to do with the price of rice in China?" Well, actually, the price of rice in China has a lot to do with everything. In 2008, fear drove the price of rice up to a point where many poorer people couldn't afford it. Since half the world depends on rice as a staple of their diet, it obviously caused huge problems. And it all came back to a simple decision made by a few people in power.
And that, my friends, is where we fit in. The world will probably not be changed by one person acting in isolation. But the world can be changed by one person educating themselves and then passing that education on. I know that sounds idealized and a bit pie-in-the-sky, but we have a choice in this world. We can either choose to be selfish, isolating ourselves from uncomfortable truths, and perpetuate the inequalities we see; or we can choose to open our eyes and look at what we can do to make the Earth a better place for everyone. /idealistic.rant
A couple of links to projects/ideas that helped open my eyes recently.
http://globalfamilyreunion.com/ We are all cousins! This is an awesome project and idea. Trying to help people realize how closely connected we are. There was also an interesting write-up about it on Mental Floss.
At yoga last week the instructor shared this poem by Tara Mohr. There are several lines that resonate, but the one I felt most drawn to was "you are galaxy with skin". You are infinite in your potential, but limited by your body. Does that change your perspective at all?
Yesterday, I moved to China. More on that in upcoming posts. We all know that I tend to ignore the blog for a while and then dump a whole bunch of posts at once.
*Let's be honest, I still use this comeback on a regular basis. Kid at heart.