Monday, August 29, 2011

From little things, big things grow

Enjoy three of my favorite Australian musicians performing an amazing song about an 8 year (8 YEAR!) strike by indigenous station hands for better pay and working conditions.

A lot of things I've learned this summer have confirmed that from little things, big things grow. For example, almost everyone I interviewed described the power of sharing a drink or a meal with someone, how such a seemingly insignificant act can break down great barriers. One person said that government officials often don't consider having a cup of tea with community members as "real" work, but in fact it can be one of the most powerful forms of connection, relationship building, and trust development. And as another suggested, "you can do anything if you have relationships." This came from someone who saw their bitterly divided community come together-- greens and farmers and local government and indigenous all working constructively together-- to stand strong and unified today.

My presence has been a little thing that sparked big things. Today I gave a presentation that one person liked so much he decided he would take my message up the chain of command from here on out. Several people have told me that I have completely changed their feelings about Americans and young people. Others have added a trip to Arkansas to their bucket list, when it wasn't even on their radar before. I may not have had adequate influence to transform any major systems, but I have clarified issues and brought solutions into view and provided some energy and encouragement to making things better. I'm feeling pretty satisfied with my work here. Time to come home.

1 comment:

  1. Im finding that in Argentina too, where everyone is constantly sharing their mate and galletitas. Its amazing how sharing builds community.