Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa


Doctor, you’ve been a beacon of light to me.  You’re living proof that ideology is a poor substitute for kindness and decency – and that at the end of the day it’s our actions and not our beliefs that define who we are, what we are.

– Sloan to Dr. Bashir in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, S07E23 “Extreme Measures”

First, if nothing else in my blog has shown me to be a total nerd, the above quote must.

Second, how true is that?

The difference

On the one hand, I am a total story slut.  I love listening to other people talk, especially about the things they’ve done or what they believe.  Sometimes people tell me to talk more (“You have interesting things to add”), but I’m not silent because I’m timid – instead, I’d rather learn as much as I can.  Maybe that makes me selfish because I don’t give back in discussions, but… well basically I don’t care.  And most people would rather have an attentive audience than conversation partner anyways.

At the same time however, it drives me insane to listen to people talk about what they want to do.  “Don’t tell me about it your plans for the future – go do it!  I don’t care!”  For example, I’ve heard the same person tell me she’s moving to Vegas then New York then Arizona then Seattle, but in the end she’s lived in Vancouver the whole 3 years I’ve known her.  Now whenever she brings up plans for the future, I respond with a vague, “Ok sure” meaning “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Yeah, it’s cool to brainstorm and get excited about the future.  But it gets lame quickly if you don’t follow through on any of those plans.

We all have a million excuses that hold us in our comfort zones.  I, too, have those Saturdays where I plan to drive two hours to a nature reserve to hike, but end up staying in bed and watching Star Trek instead.  And that’s lame.  I fully admit that sometimes I am devastatingly boring.

Right after I wrote that sentence, my roommate came home and gave me some copies of a magazine she started called Debate Journal.

“These are amazing!” I exclaimed as I flipped through them.

“That’s what happens you do stuff instead of just talk,” she replied.

Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.


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