September

by jeannabauer

Relationship Building. Invitation. Development. Local Resources. …

For five days, the Partners Shan Projects men and SEED Staff all studied these words. We participated in a Community Development training, I was surprised by the amount I already knew … and how much I didn’t.

Lately, I’ve been looking at my resume. It’s been five years of refugee and migrant work. Five. It feels both trivial and monstrous. Reflecting has been fun. I remember the days of my internship at Lutheran Services of Iowa Refugee Cooperative – running to Ames feeling shocked and intrigued and miserable and excited. I had found my passion.

I remember, three years ago at KOM crying behind my tiny desk with the orange chair – thinking, this is just too overwhelming and I do not understand and who are these people, why can’t I solve their problems and where exactly is Burma? I vaguely remember that moment when I realized, oh – there’s no turning back. Feeling the same mix of misery and excitement.

This month, my colleague and I are working with the Community Support Workers to pull together their social work training, community development knowledge and cultural expertise to make a plan. A plan to dive into migrant construction worker communities. Improving the lives of families in need.

Just like me, they feel and admit to conflicting emotions: excitement and fear, feeling unsure, yet eager. Their next few months will be busy – on top of studying, continued training, teaching Thai language and assistant teaching English classes … they’re going to get started in the communities. Building relationships with leaders, members and children, preparing for and facilitating trainings.

I love being able to support them – using the skills, knowledge and mistake-learned wisdom from the last five years to help them in their first. I’m excited to see where they go.

As for me, who knows where I’ll end up in another five, but for now – I’m really happy where I’m at. xo

… Multiplication. Teaching not Doing. Sustainable. Facilitation. Prevention. Community Ownership.

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