Sitting in the airport as she made her way home after one month in Africa, Cassidy, our super-cool Field Operations Manager, sent this reflection to us here at HQ. We found it really moving, and wanted to share it with you.
This week marks my one-year anniversary with Outreach International, and also my return from a month-long trip to the three countries in Africa in which Outreach works; Malawi, Zambia, and DR Congo. Over the past year, I traveled to six of our program countries, and I, much like our communities, have experienced a lot of change.
I learned that sustainable transformation is a slow process, but the results last a lifetime. When development work is done right, truly amazing and deep relationships can be quickly established because we are interacting as peers, not as givers and beggars. I gained the confidence to challenge societal and cultural norms that do not uphold the common good. I learned to neither be held hostage by culture, nor be hostile to it. I met the people who carry out the work in their communities, and have seen the change their work made in their own lives. I have eaten some very weird foods I would not have had the opportunity to try before (warthog, caterpillar, balut, cow innards, etc.), and I learned that some of the world’s most amazing, beautiful, and resilient people live in the most unexpected places.
I can say with complete confidence that this past year has been one of (if not the) best year of my life, and I can’t wait for many more years working for such a wonderful organization with such amazing people and communities across the globe.
Welcome home, Cassidy, and happy one-year anniversary at Outreach!