As I type, my country has just experienced its 101st murder for 2010… for many people, that number is small, but for my country of less than 400,000 residents, it’s a bitter pill for us to swallow. How it is that this relatively peaceful country has doubled its murder rate within a decade? When did crime because so common-place that it dominates our newscast? Citizens want answers and they want solutions! But my question is do they really want to do the work it takes to bring back the harmony we once knew? My vision for my life is my vision for my community and country… living with love and respect for each other. It is my sincere belief that love and respect can solve many of the problems in the world today. If we respect each other, there would be no hate crimes because while we may not agree with a person’s decisions, we know that they have a right to make it. And even when we voice our disagreement about those decisions, we will take it no further than that. In religious terms, hate the sin, not the sinner. If we had love and respect for each other, domestic abuse and rape would not be such a regular occurrence as there would be no need to dominate another person. If we had love and respect, we would try our best to settle conflicts amicably rather than instinctively reaching for a gun or a knife. Somewhere, a decade or two ago we lost that love and respect and the family structure began to break down… children stopped seeing it modelled by their parents and parents ceased teaching it to their children. And now we are reaping the consequences and organizations countrywide are trying to do damage control and taking up the slack by having to constantly teach conflict resolution and anger management skills to our youths.
In thinking about the magnitude of the problems in Belize and around the world, it is easy to become disheartened, but yet I am hopeful that things can and will get better. My part in this equation is to be as productive a citizen as I can and to model the love and respect I’d like to see in my community and country. I am taking the advice of Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This is why I strive to further my education and encourage others to do the same. As a country, we have somehow stopped caring for each other and worry only for ourselves. I am becoming a social worker/advocate and want to one day also be an educator because I care about my family, my community, my country and all those families that are encased within. I care enough to want to effect change and I am hoping that others at home and around the will join me on that mission.
How will VOF help me in my vision? The same way that being a social work student has helped me: making me more educated and self-aware; helping me to learn more about others and myself. These skills I’ve been acquiring from all the workshops, classes and courses I have taken will never go to waste because they have contributed to my development as a human being, fostering within me respect for all cultures, race, ethnicities, even when my understand is limited. This will in turn affect my future advocacy efforts, showing me the most effective ways to effect change in others and therefore my community and country. We are only in the initial process of the VOF, but already writing these journals has helped me to explore and clarify my thoughts, reading the journals of others have motivated me, as have their comments when they’ve read mine. I do hope that I would be one of those select 30 who will be chosen for the full course, but even if I am not, I have gained much just by being a part of the process and know I will continue to assist and be assisted by my kindred spirits on the World Pulse website.