Finding our Hearts: It’s about the Relationship

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Lynelle Phillips recently shared a story about a rural village in Honduras, one which received visits from her own Masters of Public Health interns and Engineers Without Borders.

The Engineers were ready to fix things because that’s what they do and they can. In fact, they had some pretty good and ingenious solutions to their public water problems. But the villagers were passive, not responding to their recommendations. In a different kind of approach the Nurses Without Borders ( my name!) focused instead on building relationships, finding out what their real lives and needs were about. This helped create a relationship of trust, one in which all were listening and exploring, seeking the solution together. In time, villagers, nurses and engineers may find a way together.

As Lynelle reflected on our new relationship with brothers and sisters in El Salvador, she concluded:

Well-intentioned Americans have been traveling to impoverished communities with superior resources, knowledge and skills in attempts to “fix” them for decades. The reward of a mission trip may not lie in how many bricks are stacked and walls are built and wells are dug, but in the relationships that develop and the stories you collect and bring home.    It is these relationships that foster understanding, and blend us together in one overarching spectrum of humanity.

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