My first six months started when I arrived for my team's first breakfast. I started to meet my team individually and noticed differences in personalities right away. There were five of us and it grew to eight, and our first challenge when we arrived was to stay together. We heard other participants telling us a large group like ours was bound to break. We took this as motivation to be different from the rest and set a new standard.
We faced many challenges and learned a lot about each other. Our first investigation was in Flint where we learned about the water crisis, solutions being proposed and those actually implemented. We made headway with meetings and contributions. It was one of the most powerful moments. Gaining the chance to listen to the people and see their wants and needs and then making a plan in short time and finding our way to contribute. For example, distributing water in the city drive, replanting fresh plants in the neighborhood urban garden, and more.
We managed to see what each other were made of, specifically when fundraising started. I remember a breath of fresh air from everyone because we all were willing to put in the work. Our communication, our hard work and honesty was the foundation that brought us success in fundraising. This program has taught us to utilize all our skills and to partner with people that have strengths where we’re weak. I remember how we encouraged each other. The Latin Americans from our team learned from the US Americans dealing with the American stores and vice versa.
Through these times of growth, dealing with frustrations, we started thinking collectively. We began to create a bond we all held tightly. It was an incredible 6 months period, the Latin Americans improved their English and the US Americans learned some Spanish or Portuguese. We all acquired new skills.
My first six months were a strong period. My team is a blessing to me. Everyone was honest about their feelings and opinions and that’s the most important because we are all humans and people will annoy us sometimes. My team has enjoyed the rewards of keeping the bonds tight and always having communication to keep things clear. Our goal was to set a new standard. Be leaders in our own right and show the real power of this place. In terms of what I needed from the program and what it taught me it was perfect. In my opinion it has been a very good preparations for instructing development in the third world. I look forward to bringing impact to my service period with the skills I have acquired thus far.Written by: Brandon Tyus - August 2018 Team