What is my  journey? What is my motivation? What do I get out of it?

When I was told to do the community work, to engage people, build rapport and get them to participate or volunteer in their community, I was a bit relented even though I grew up in the village, where community are strong and vibrant. But, After a year of using case management approach, which is mostly one to one as individual, or to one family and getting of impression of how secularized the people here,  there was so many question on my head, what this work all about? How to go about it? Who to engage? How to engage? What to aspect? How about if it’s not going to work?  How about if people reject this approach? How about people misunderstood it? So, the beginning was full of uncertainty and risk taking just like going into jungle without a compass.

So, how the journey begin: The starting point is simply by believing. I reflected on how my leader has a lot of belief in me and my colleague by setting us apart to focus on this work. I’m aware of my limitations and weaknesses, but Her belief in my strength was the motivating factor. Its changes my perception about me, about people I’m working with and the people I’m going to engage and build partnership with. I simply realise everything is co-exist, the good and bad, poor and rich but the best thing is I can always focus on the strengths and the good stuff as “the strength will always stay, while the issue, limitation, weaknesses will go away given a  time and space for it, after all I believe God didn’t create any junk! even a junk has been a good source of income for some people.

As the journey moved deeper, I was surprised with almost everything people has to offer, they are so welcoming, friendly, caring and being very helpful to one another. They too have heart to do good and to contribute and give back to the community they resides. I was literally force to “unlearn my concern and expect the unexpected”.  After series of interactions in the form of meetings,  casual talks, movies, night fishing, long boarding (a longer version of skateboard), swimming, badminton, birthday celebrations, with children’s and youths and their families. Those hidden treasures begin to surface; a 13th year old boy, our service users step up to offer his time for tutoring other younger kids in the community. He want to do it out of gratitude for the service we have been providing to him and his family. Another service user, a youth whom had a difficult childhood, whom also was convicted for petty crimes,  in and out boys home step up to coach other youths on drama performance which base on his life story for one of the community event. He was also an expert on “longboarding” and attracted few other youths to spent their time meaningfully in this activities. A mother of three, offered to child mind  two other kids while their single parent out for work. A group of volunteer get together and start organising their first event in the community, they shared ideas and plan everything and was supported by their community leaders and the event turnout to be so successful. It was endorsed by their Member of Parliament to be a yearly event. One of the youths whom was part of the organising team shared how he is proud of himself and about his community spirit. He said, “ we were  no body, but now we are somebody”. This group of people went on to volunteer and organise more events in the community, and came out with a collective dream as a community, to nurture leadership, talents and educations for the young. They look out for one another especially for the young and elderly.   All this convicted me about believing in the power of people and how they are so resistant and  resourceful in their life. I am amazed with how this people has become my source of inspiration to carry on this work.

Along the way, I do bump into challenges, obstacles and doubt, there will be some people choose to functions alone, don’t believe the importance of including  people let alone collaborating with them, some still feel that they have the answers and they know better. Well, they probably need more time and space to get it, even if they are not, it doesn’t matter anymore, as they are co-exist. I have learn  that every community has its dynamic and I should be able to respect them as they are. Besides, I can always count on the blessing compared to the blunders. I’m also glad that I was not alone as I have the” power of we” a team to fall back to clarify things, to brainstorm idea, to  support me and guide me along if things get tough.  

As I look back now, I realise how important is the power of believing, appreciating strengths, learn to unlearn, expect the unexpected, accepting weaknesses, accepting differences,  a little gesture of smile, a casual talk, a small act of kindness, a little time spent, even in the very insignificant activities does matter in the course of doing this work, I’m certainly discovering myself more and It makes my journey beautiful. The bottom line is I’m happy! Thus, I believed and my journey continue with the spirit of gratitude for everyone whom has been part of my journey.. Hope to discover more treasure in time to come together as “WE”.  But, Do we believe?

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on April 20, 2012 at 10:09am

Hi Mark, thanks for your blog. Your leader's belief in your strengths gave you confidence to do your work and that too very well. You applied this way of working to community members with remarkable results!  Communities can be resilient if they realise their strengths. Look forward to more updates:-)

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