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Monday, August 21, 2017

It's a Marathon, not a Sprint.

Endurance. Defined as withstanding a situation over time without giving way.  A word I would associate with my experiences of  sustainable development as a volunteer.  Such a word usually denotes a negative ambience, however, within the context of volunteering, this is undermined. Rather, the word becomes a symbol of power and change. The adaptation of this word through its association with volunteering and sustainable development in itself can be deemed a symbol of the change both of the aforementioned can have on both people within the projects, specifically volunteers, as well as the communities themselves.

    Picture of Tamale, by Christopher Lewis
It was Maya Angelou that stated; 'all great achievements require time.'  Personally, I think that this statement captures the essence of volunteering and the aims within it perfectly. Volunteering is working towards a unanimous goal. A goal that takes time, team work and endurance. To be perfectly honest, this is a daunting prospect at times. Such a goal makes ten weeks seem like a very small time frame to achieve so much. Therefore, in my opinion, endurance is the key to volunteering. Endurance, and a love for facilitating positive change.
Angelou also stated; 'If you don't like something, change it. If you cannot change it, change your attitude.' The whole concept surrounding volunteering, and, within this, the RAINS project, is that of change. Change, however, does not come easily. It is something that needs endurance, and a lot of it. The second part of Angelou's statement is interesting, as changing ones attitude suggests changing ones opinion. However, it can also be seen as changing ones approach to volunteering, or mentality within such an experience in order to adapt and consequently bring about said change. Volunteering projects such as this do come with their challenges, both within the project, as well as within ones self. However, it is how we deal with these challenges that impacts the outcome of and personal development within said projects.

Therefore, through my own personal challenges that I have faced thus far, as well as those that I have witnessed fellow volunteers overcome, I fully believe that endurance is the key. Achieving goals, especially on such a scale, is a marathon and not a sprint. And, similarly to a marathon, every step you take brings you closer to your goal, and is therefore vital in achieving the desired outcome. 
By Florence Rogerson