Quote of the day: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”- Mother Teresa

Question of the day: How does it feel helping others? Can one person really make a difference?

Welcome Glimpse family or familia of glimpsers! This is Rodney Tieu, the day leader of July 21!

Today was an advancement of our community action project (CAP) in which we have previously cleared a school field in order to create a garden. We woke up at 7:00 after a night time of heavy rain and thunderstorms, and with great fear we entered the school at 9am – maybe our 6 hours of work yesterday was all swept away by harsh winds and water, or perhaps the rain had helped the soil to settle? Knowing this possibility, glimpsers were prepared to restart from near scratch — a testament to the commitment we held to the community and their goal to spread knowledge around agriculture. We held our breath before entering the construction zone, and all was good!

With soil settled and work gloves on, us glimpsers continued on the second half of the project: creating a fence border and compost bin. With the help of local teachers and students (shout out to Mauricio), work passed by fast. I can say with confidence that all the glimpsers, despite the back breaking labor, will hold these memories positively. Many of us not fluent in Spanish communicated with the locals, sometimes through limited understanding of languages on both ends, but more often than not, with body language and charades. Fear is only a barrier to one’s success. To be courageous, when just knowing a little of the local language, the only way one can become truly fluent or make true connections to local peoples and cultures is through effort. It was no longer an option to run away from immersion. While sharing snacks, glimpsers and locals exchanged language slang (i.e. “How do you say ‘your shoes are fire'” – Rodney). Other times, English was taught to the locals, sometimes the basic introductions but other times our favorite lines. It was a welcoming surprise to learn that local students are little different than students from home — many phone addicted and shy of the unknown. It was comforting, knowing wherever one goes, others will continue to hold similar feelings, humor, and appreciation. Alas, the rain returned, and we had to leave the fence and compost bin a bit unfinished respectively.

We arrived home in the afternoon. The remainder of the day being free-time, glimpsers connected with one another. All around were conversations of family, goals, and local community life. As the trip nears its end, many glimpsers are missing our favorite foods from home!

“I’ve been craving spicy!!!” – Alan

“Adobo.” – Beatrice

“Dude, Korean fried chicken hits!” – Maggie

The best memories sometimes simply do not need these big grandiose events, but just quality time with others. To grow from strangers to friends within less than 2 weeks represents that sentiment. One of the proudest moments of this trip was tonight’s pre-meeting dance on the patio. Dancing is difficult, especially partner dances which require coordination and trust. These coordinated dances represent the growth in trust of the glimpsers as well as their comfortability with one another.

Moreover, in regard to leadership, honestly, being a leader never really felt different than being a member. Leader at the end of the day is only a title, and regardless of the title, leadership is a mindset. Aside from a few changes in having to remind others to thank service workers (Gracias Welin!) and to drink water, being a leader simply felt like being a good friend. One that gives reminders to take care of one’s self and others in addition to keeping other members on track. With a shared goal, leadership of one is not the be all end all, rather, leadership was always spread across many as a way of thought. Inspirational moments most often came from meal times, the time everyone gives the leaders their full attention to prevent the prolonging fast. To see everyone united by one goal, to eat, was inspiring; it was collaboration to the highest efficiency.

At the end of the day, I was given some feedback about my leadership. Some addressing problems I have had from past leadership positions — the most striking being the need to delegate work more frequently. Often, I find myself attempting to take on leadership as an individual, but I had to realize that not all was possible alone — because time was scarce, my act as an individual leader without delegates decreased the overall efficiency of the group. However, I found myself most proud of the reactions of other glimpsers to my leadership style! Many had praised the punctuality of my reminders and the louder projections of my voice. Mistakes are always acceptable because everyone makes them, and that is why constructive criticism is important — it allows one to grow from both their strengths and their weaknesses.

With all that being said, July 22, mark the date; Kyra is gonna be the next Leader del Dia.

P.S. Big Love to my roommates: Alan, Moises, Alex, and Noe.

Signing off, Rodney Tieu