My Moment of Connection

I was born in a small village in a Chinese southern place that was quite poor. I lived there until I was 4, when my parents moved our home to a small city, later to a bigger city. But we went back there for my summer and winter breaks every year. Ten years ago, if I wanted to go back to my hometown, I would need to take a flight from Beijing to Nanchang, transfer to Shangrao by a train, and then take a bus, which would be driving on a mountain path for one hour. Getting off from the bus and walking on a muddy path for 15 minutes, I could finally see my great-grandparents and neighbors who used to see me growing up. At that time, I didn’t think about the increasing difficulty and slowness of transportation on my way to my hometown, and neither did I understand what this could mean. I was even complaining about the poor living conditions of my hometown after I got used to the convenience, cleanness and modernity of big cities.

The economic gap is a huge problem of China, as well as the rest of the world. While I’m typing these words down on a MacBook, some people in some places of the world are suffering hunger or facing death because of reasons they are not in control of.

As a college student, I’ve been appreciating the fact that my professors taught me why and how these kinds of things are happening. But I know that being aware of the situations and reasons behind them is not enough. Therefore, I’ve always wanted to be able to do something, perhaps not something that could be immediately useful and effective, but something that allows me to fulfill my sense of obligation as a moral being.

Elaine, the founder of Cultivate granted me such a chance by offering me this internship at Cultivate. Having worked for Cultivate for several weeks, I’ve had some thoughts and feelings toward both my own life and the job I’m doing. To be honest, performing administrative tasks for the organization didn’t help me associate myself with people who are helped by the organization as much as you could imagine. But during the past a few weeks, I’ve had one moment, at which I had substantial feelings about the work I am doing. And that moment is so precious to me. It hit me as if something warm was poured into my body. It happened when I was watching a video sent by one of our trainees, Fred, who is helping women and children from Rwanda.

The video was probably shot on his cell phone, and the quality of the frame was quite poor. However, this was the first time in my life that I watched a “stranger”, whose work and even life value is hooked up with my work, asking for help.

It’s real. The children he showed in the video are real, and the story of those children are also real. Fred is real, and what he is doing is real.

At that moment, I suddenly felt I am somehow closely connected with Fred, and my desire to devote myself to what I am doing for him, for Cultivate, and for myself became stronger and stronger.

This is only the third week of my internship, and this is only the beginning of my journey. I’m very looking forward to what will happen next, and I am very ready for it.

-Grace Lan, Former Intern