Finally the pens have been packed. It turns out 669 of the purple pens that BiC donated fills one box. They will soon be on their way to find a permanent home in the hand of a child in Afghanistan. As the boxes were being sealed up I used one of the pens to write the contents on the outside. In that moment the realization hit me, and not for the first time, that a child is going to be using this pen for more. I used it temporarily to put a label on the outside of a shipping box but the hand that gets a hold of this pen can use it to rewrite their future. This feeling of humble awe is an occurrence that has happened many times throughout this semester already. This feeling is the one thing that keeps the fire burning in the hearts of people who devote their time to this line of work.
Sure the monetary support, publicity, and donations all add fuel to the fire but the feeling of awe, humility, and a bit of pure delight when you see the results of all the time you devoted is the thing that lit the fire in the first place and is responsible for keeping it going throughout the hardships. Putting the pen in the box that I had just used to write a label brought me back to that feeling. And it felt great!
A main goal for me throughout this class other than raising the 10 boxes of school supplies is an individual one. Because I want to do much of my work with not-for-profits this semester I wanted to use the advantages this class gave me to start practicing on my ability to get people to care about what I am doing. Fortunately I got what I wanted and a bit more. I have grudgingly come to the realization that no matter how persuasive I am people still won’t care and will believe that your cause if no more worthy than any other. I have also learned that many times the people I have met and talked to about possible donations have no personal desire to care about children in Afghanistan but because they care about me then I get a positive response. Many people would say this is great because you still get the donations you need but the stubborn part of me wants everyone to fall in love with this beautiful cause just like I have. If that happens then they can keep passing on this torch to others each adding their fire to it as it goes along. Now I know this is an unrealistic thought process but it is one that has helped me to stay committed to not only this project but to the projects I hope to start in the future.
If I can maintain the hope that I can bring change and occasionally get people to really care about something worthwhile then my desire for this type of work will never go away even when it seems there is nothing left to keep it going. I can’t help but think how the people in Greg Mortenson’s books never allowed their fire for education to go out despite all the hardships endured. Lack of schools, lack of teachers, and lack of money wasn’t enough to topple the hopes for education in their hearts. With this knowledge gained from the bucket-loads of experience I have already attained from this class I have gained a reassuring confirmation that this work I am doing now and the work I hope to do in the future is the thing for me.