Gracias, Asante, Thank You

Gracias, Asante, Akpe, Shukran, Thank you.

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My 5+ year career at CCS has taught me a lot about “being thankful.” I continue to learn to wake up every single day, with the aim to live my life with gratitude and wonder at the diversity of human experience on this planet. Currently having the opportunity to work remotely from Tanzania (Hi Mount Kilimanjaro, nice to see you this morning!) and soon en route to India, by December, I will have had the chance to experience seven out of eight CCS programs.

Here’s are the moments and lessons I’m most grateful for:

-Learning the graceful art of double-cheek kisses, as a greeting, every morning by a 70-year old Moroccan woman, as she walked into the language center to learn English, so she could speak with her grandchild abroad.

-When a volunteer says something really funny, and Jose, our Costa Rica Country Director, smiles with his whole face, before letting out a laugh so big, he surprises himself.

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-Forever being “Frozen” during a game of freeze tag with Tanzanian school children, because they are simply too fast for this 31-year old body

-Cramming into a car with a motley crew of volunteers, all of varying ages, including a mom and her ten-year old daughter, with the destination of Cape Coast, Ghana for the weekend. A long 8+ hour journey, which ended with us being replenished by the gorgeous beaches of Ghana, but horrified at the atrocities of the slave trade, a sobering reminder of humanity at it’s worst.

-Walking out of the Slave Castle that day, dropping my phone and being chased down by a Ghanaian street seller, who returned it to me with a sweet smile.

-The moment when two years later, while running a CCS office in Panama, the mother of that young daughter, reaches out to me to ask if I can speak with her child, over Skype, who has just come out of the closet at the age of 12, and needs some support. I get the chance to speak with my young fellow volunteer, who is not only one of the most insightful and clever 12 years old I know, but also the most brave.

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-The sunset over Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, where it felt “right” to be a woman, all alone, in a foreign country.

-The #relationshipgoal I gained while visiting the home of an elderly couple in Lima, who never stopped holding hands in bed throughout our entire home-visit.

-The way that the brightness of flowers in Tanzania pop against red clay dirt roads, and can literally break my heart with beauty.

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-The laughter from my co-workers, on April Fool’s Day, as even the Founder of the organization gets involved with extremely elaborate pranks, and I’m reminded that even when there is much important work to be done, you still need a little fun.

-The security I feel in knowing that I am a citizen of the world, that I have colleagues in nine countries (including the US), who will pick me up at a moment’s notice, should I be stranded in an airport in their part of the world.

-When adults are called “tee-cha” by Tanzanian school children and I’m reminded to find the lessons, always seek what there is to be shared, as everyone really is a ‘tee-cha’ in this life.

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-Lastly, and maybe most of all, now more than ever, I’m thankful to work for an organization that respects diversity, has always allowed me to be my whole self, has introduced me to some of my dearest mentors, most of whom are total #girlbosses, and has kept the carrot of “changing the world” just close enough for me to keep aiming for it.

Now that I've shared mine, I'm wondering: In what ways, has your involvement with CCS filled you with gratitude?


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