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Monday, March 17, 2008

Connecting dreams to resources

This is largely how I think about my work:

What sparks the creative imagination of community residents? The reality is that the dreams are already there. Alive in the souls of even the most destitute are the seeds of visions planted by the Creator, longings for a better life for their children, hopes that their labor will someday produce a more prosperous future. But in isolated urban ghettos, like isolated rural villages in Nicaragua, the dreamers are seldom connected to the resources that could give their ideas legs. And so while peasant yucca farmers survive by their back-breaking toil generation after generation, inner-city parents continue to board early morning buses heading to their dead-end jobs, subordinating their dreams to the pressures of feeding their families. Until...

Until one day, one long-hoped-for day, a connection is made. By chance or by providence, someone in the village meets a connected person with a heart, a person who has time to listen, a person with both imagination and resources to stir a belief in the possibilities. Hope, smothered dim under years of survival pressures, begins to flicker once again. Not a flame at first - too many disappointments, too many broken promises, too many failed attempts to allow fresh hope to burst forth unbridled. But in time, after the trustworthiness of the connecting person can be tested, after the opportunity is subjected to ample reality-testing, then hopefulness can be freed. It is a dangerous, fragile, exhilarating moment when the poor release their restraints and begin to believe. And it is this, more than any other moment, that the community developer lives for. And the community.
From Bob Lupton's February 2008 newsletter.

So it sounds a little great white hope-ish, but fundamentally I know that I have the ability to access people and places that most of my neighbors never will. Connecting the two is one of the best things I can do.

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