Monday, September 17, 2007

One week to go...

I am grateful for the support that I have received from people. I also have had pleasure in hearing the different responses to this trip of those I have spoken. I have learned much through their responses about people and about myself. There are those who are clear that they would never go to a place that is clearly so unsafe; others who feel that any such work is heroic and “Mother Therese” like, while others become nostalgic about their peace corps experience or other volunteer experiences, and finally there are those who see this as a great adventure.

I am not sure which perspective I most identify. I do want to do some good and make a difference; I know there are dangers; and it is an adventure. As far as nostalgia, yes, for the work I did in Alabama in the late 70’s or more recently my trip to volunteer at the Bethel Indigenous Dance Festival, Cama-I, in Alaska. However, maybe the truth is that this journey on my part to Liberia is selfish. I do feel at a turning point in my life and have a need for something different.

As i thought about the reason for taking this journey today I reflected on the ideas of Alasdair McIntire. He describes human beings as “storytelling animals” and that each human being is on a narrative quest. He means by this that each one of us is on a perilous journey seeking to author a life and a story that is meaningful and is moving towards the good and the essential. His insights have some truth for me. I do sense this journey is a quest to experience the essential and the good in a place different than what I am accustomed. However, as I thought about his notion of the narrative quest there was something that did not quite fit.

As I read several of the seed stories from the CVT Story Project I felt tears on my face. In the moment with the stories and my tears I realized that I do not know why I am going. I can speculate all I want but my analyses is only empty mind-chatter. I have a sense that I really will only know after the journey. Maybe shortly afterwards or maybe even months or years later, and maybe never. At this point it doesn’t matter. What does matter is for me to go, to be open, do the story work, take in the experience, and do the best I can. And the rest will take care of itself. andre

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