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Snapshots of Life in DC

 

I have been living in Washington DC for over a month now. To put it into perspective how close to everything I actually am. I live by the Capital and work by the White House. It has been an incredible experience so far, and I have met so many new friends. My week is filled with classes, briefings, and of course my internship with JAM. Joint Aid Management is the U.S. office for a South African NGO, so the focus is raising funds for the operations in Africa. The second week on the job Peter Pretorius, the founder of JAM, and his wife Anna were in DC. This visit transformed the office from the relative peace and quiet to a bustling environment of busyness.

In a meeting on Monday, I had the privilege to meet Peter and hear his story. I had become acquainted to some degree with Peter’s story, but it is one thing to read a story, and quite another to hear it from the lips of the person that experienced it. Hearing Peter tell his story, reaffirmed the importance of the narrative. It reminded me that the impact of one experience can translate into a lifetime of work. After Peter shared how he had been stranded for a week in a town in Mozambique, and witnessed over three hundred people starve to death.

He told us how he had told his wife, either I try and forget what just happened, or we sell everything and go make a difference.

Peter had chosen to make a difference for the better. JAM is his life work, his effort to help Africa. His story has not only transformed who he was, but has impacted me as well. Not only am I interning with JAM, but I am increasingly becoming dedicated to the work that they are doing in Africa.

Besides the various readings I am doing for school, I am also reading Wrecked by Jeff Goins; I have not finished it. Yet in what I have read so far, two things have jumped out at me. They are highlighted in my book and worth sharing here. The first point Jeff makes is that (life) is not about us. If we are to be wrecked (A term he coined to describe the point of realization.) we must first realize that life is not about us. Once we understand that truth the next truth is that we are looking for a story to make sense of. Jeff affirms the importance of the narrative, but even more significantly he points out that the story is not about us. While we might be part of the story and have a role to play. In the end it is not about what we have said or done, rather the lives that have been changed. I had been reading and thinking about this idea several weeks before I started interning with JAM. So when I heard a story that (wrecked) me, and helped me realize that my internship is not about me. Rather it is a chance to help, even if my work is not noticed or significant. It is a choice that I have. Once I have immersed my self in the story, and understand that my actions are within that story. It was then that I could truly begin.

live Your life, 

Jacob 

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