I’ve taken this course, Global Citizens at UCT. We’re the first batch piloting this awesome endeavor, funded by the Vice Chancellor, and so far its been great! I’ve registered for the “Thinking About Volunteering” section (not the discourse and dialog part which I wish I had time for too!) It’s actually pretty cool because the requirements of the course is that you do 15 hours of community service this semester, and submit blog posts! Now, that sounds like something I could do!
We have weekly meetings do reflect on our service over the past week and discuss topics such as “is there a difference between charity and social justice? If so, is one inherently bad and one inherently good” and “what are the motivations for volunteering, and does service mitigate inequality, or does is just perpetuate it?” You have no idea how great it is to crystallize these vague but critical ideas into workable arguments and discussions, to be given the space to refute and ponder, to meet others who share my interest or can introduce me to new ones. A place to learn and grow and share and feel normal. Feel normal for wanting the world to be a better place.
Its a give and take. In that room on a Wednesday night, on the online forum, reading the blogs, there is just so much muchness. I feel like as much as I can learn there, I can teach too. As much as I can agree there, I can argue too. Its just so..just So healthy. Like taking a deep breath of clean air in the country after a four hour car ride from the city (with the aircon on).
And the best part is, I think it’s actually helping! So much of the time, we go out and do service, hold meetings, plan strategies so that we can reach our objectives, managing our time, and oh yes, keep the community’s needs at the forefront of our thinking all the time. In all this running around, organizing transport, meetings, funds, workshops, speakers, even site visits…somehow I lost the plot along the way. I forgot what was really important. The people. The people we want to help, and the people who are doing the helping.
I’m planning to run a workshop with my team members tomorrow where they discuss and reflect on their purpose as individuals, as well as that of the team. I want them to feel like they belong, that they are making a difference, that what we are doing is real, involving real people, with real problems. I hope it brings about a fresh sense of purpose in my team members! I’m so proud of them already, and can’t wait to see what they come up with!
Thank you Global Citizens...there seems to be something to this reflection stuff after all!