Small Mementos, Huge Reminders, Positive Changes.
In my work area at home, I keep small reminders in front of me. Small mementos of happenings that I want to remember. These reinforce my reasons for being here in Peru. I reflect on those mementos and consider what actions to take, for the betterment of the children whose numbers in our project continue to grow, as well as how to stand against the inhibitors of good things happening. Every humanitarian or leader of social change was criticized before they were respected for their ideas.
My wall is covered with drawings and pictures made by the children. I am proud of their creativity and it makes me smile to have those in front of me. I have a poster that says “No Te Rindas” which means ‘Don’t Give Up’. It is a reminder that, had I packed up and gone home after my first challenging experiences, Changes for New Hope would have never been realized.
Tenacity, shining in the face of all adversity, is what makes average people, great people, as much as great ideas do.
I have a map of Ancash and highlight in yellow marker, where we want to be established in the near future and I mark off the many villages where we have been. I am never more than an arm’s reach away from a pen and paper so that I can instantly jot down ideas that buzz about in my head. There are several lists I have written, ideas, plans, people that I want to talk to, sponsors to thank, and solutions.
(Photo: Jim Killon)
Then I have two of the most important mementos that sit side by side at the front of my table. They are a small pair of baby shoes and a spent tear gas canister that was fired by the police at a rioting crowd during the December 2010 protest strikes. In glaring contrast to each other, I wonder if the child who will wear these shoes will grow up in a society that believes that violence is the only response to anything objectionable, or will those of us who believe in peaceful solutions, somehow instill a more intelligent way to bring about the needed changes.
More than ever before, social change needs to happen in a way that is effective and peaceful. I have seen many violent protests, here and in my native Baltimore. Some of my readers have asked me if it isn’t the only thing that is heard and understood. On the contrary, I believe in change by personal example and by working with the many departments available for social development. I have seen how a “Do the Right Thing” campaign in Huaraz motivated people to make positive and lasting changes in their lives which became a community change. While you can not expect everyone to get on board, the city-wide effect was a wonderful thing. No rocks, no fires, no smashed windows. Trash was being put in cans, taxis slowed down for pedestrians and generally, people were more polite to each other. Whatever “Do the Right Thing” meant to people is what they acted on. People felt better about themselves and Huaraz.
How would you reflect or react if you saw a poster that simply said,“Do the Right Thing”?
As an artist, I have a drawing that makes the final point. The words depicted on it simply say, “Have you ever noticed that when you focus on a problem you always have one but when you look for a solution you always find one?”
Think about it!
Until next week, live large, my friends, live deliberately.
Also, be sure to check out our website at www.changesfornewhope.org and our May issue of The Changes for New Hope Humanitarian Awards Magazine available at https://issuu.com/jimkillon3/docs/the_changes_for_new_hope_humanitari