Sunday, April 24, 2011

Where I am going

Haiti is a sinking ship.  Broken in irreparable ways. It broke me too.  I am usually content to be in forsaken places, working with forgotten people, doing my part.  I am always sustained by the belief, after rigorous analysis, that my work does no harm, that it may not save the world, but the little I do means that much more in such circumstances.  On tough days, I am not so sure, but I am still very proud of being in this field, and doing something that is bigger than myself.   

I have naively espoused the very American belief that through intelligence and hard work alone, one can solve any problem.  A tempting indulgence and one that leads a naturally energetic people into perpetual activity.  Sometimes the best thing to do is wait.  To observe and reflect and to act at the right moment rather than ceaselessly persisting obsessively with a problem.   

Disheartening to meet so many careerists in this field who make this a profession, who don't do it with a spirit of adventure and curiosity.  Wherever they go, they get drunk and hang amongst themselves.  They watch their laptops, call home.  Spend their money in big cities on holiday, basking in the glow of the prestige of being different.  This can be a dirty, dirty field. 

I don't understand them. 

I was a traveler, and I happened upon this work.  It is interesting for now, but then I will move on.  I do it on my terms.  And that is important to maintain.  This is more than just a job.  Most of us are in this field not for the money, and we are smart enough to be doctors, lawyers and corporate businessmen, with the house and the cars and the football on Sunday.  But we decided to leave it behind, to chart a new path for ourselves and the lives of others.   

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