When I set off for this journey in January 2016, my first objective was to learn. And the truth is, what I’ve learned so far has exceeded the limited scope I had sketched out for myself. Perhaps one of the best lessons I’ve learnt so far is how to live humbly. I’ve long believed in and preached to my peers about living within one’s means but, until now, I don’t think I quite understood what it really meant to do much with little and still be truly happy. Over the past months, I’ve come to enjoy myself and life in general in a totally different way than I had grown accustomed to; I’ve rediscovered a more authentic joy – that akin to my childhood – a pure happiness that is derived internally and not from material sources.
I’ve become more empathetic and more driven to play my part in helping to alleviate poverty. If I thought of myself as a compassionate being before, these past months have reminded me of my upbringing, memories of my own mother teaching me to give of the little we had, and why I decided to serve. Having to refine my plans and juggle between obligations here and back home, I constantly thought about the realities of persons who have to survive on nothing, for whom, unlike me, it’s not a choice. I’ve naturally become more resourceful and reaffirmed my belief that some of the most resourceful persons in this world are those with little or nothing.
This fellowship has, undoubtedly, renewed my belief in the human spirit. It has helped me to look beyond and really see those around me for who they are: fellow human beings.
It has helped to reconfirm who I am: a humanitarian, a giver, a changemaker. Giving while living on meagre means reminds me, us, that it’s the heart of giving that truly matters. It is this heart that gives birth to change.
With hearts and minds convicted of the same beliefs:
We are the change. We can make all the difference in the worlds we call home.
We are the hope. We were born for a time such as this. A time where so many need something to hope for.
We are the future. A future we will create using our hands, hearts, and minds.
Life is about growing. Being a part of the Atlas Corps fellowship has given each of us fresh opportunities to continue growing and learning new things that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
To Atlas Corps, thank you for providing this platform for talents and ideas to cross borders. For our worlds to interconnect in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
To our host organizations, thank you for teaching us and for being willing – and eager – to learn from us. Thank you for establishing learning grounds for priceless shared experiences.
To my fellow fellows, I say this:
1. Remember who you are (what defines you, what makes you who you are) and be true to you. Always.
2. Create a strategy, if you don’t already have one. Set goals with measurable objectives and don’t beat up on yourself if you don’t achieve all.
3. Be flexible. Allow this and every one of life’s journeys to teach you and inform your strategy as you go along.
4.Finally, reflect, refuel and recharge. Always make time to connect and reconnect with you.
To those who will be extended, keep enjoying, learning, and growing. To those who will return home shortly, let your light continue to shine so brightly that others will be inspired.
In the words of my fellow Jamaicans:
Big up yuhself, nuff love and walk good!