In matters of numbers it is always said that the greater the number the larger the impact, a simple but profound quote by King Solomon, the wisest man in history states ‘a cord of three stands does not easily break’. As I sat down to write this blog, I did not know how it would be titled, it was clear what it would be about but the titling just seemed like such an arduous task.
After beginning the WYA internship, it became clear to me in a few days what a ‘Dignity Project’ was and what it pertained to, I was interested and racked my brain on what I could do as soon as possible. In a short time and with great assistance from the staff at the Africa Regional Office, I had something underway and soon was engaged in planning and waiting for execution. There were moments of wandering thought; how will it be? Who will come? Will another event come and cause this one not to happen? My mind went on and on as the day drew closer.
I had elected to engage some young people; teens in particular who had just completed their primary or secondary education and are in a transition period in their lives for an afternoon forum. The content that seemed best suited for them was leadership (of self & others), what to expect next in their lives and an introduction to WYA all this was detailed in a PowerPoint slideshow. Finally the day arrived and all set, we got to the venue in good time, set up all the we needed to, put up our banner and sat to wait, certain that there would be a crowd streaming in by 2:00pm which was our anticipated start time.
I would love to write that the dream of a packed auditorium was realised and we began with a full house but it would be an injustice to the witness to the entire project. At 3:00pm with 2 participant’s we fired up and begun the session, making an introduction in such a setting is somewhat humorous especially when one chooses to address the 2 like a multitude of millions. Written all over the faces of the esteemed attendees was surprise but in all this was a humble trust, a deep understanding in what we had come there to do that needed not be explained, it’s importance outweighed the attendance. It was a message that needed to be passed and the 2 present were important enough to hear it.
A silver lining does arise to this cloud in that as time went by 2 became 3 then later 6 and as the afternoon progressed I can attest that we had enough people in the room to make a football team and a coach. In comparison to many events of this nature it may seem like we barely achieved a small feat but when I am reminded of the core work of the World Youth Alliance, I am touched to realise that those lives are valuable each as they individually arise and as part of the crowd and the world they will go out to influence. I pray and trust that in that sunny afternoon for those few hours that we laughed and shared, another person has been accorded an opportunity to experience their human dignity and will become a channel to others.
As I concluded, I am reminded on Nelson Mandela’s ‘Invictus’, when two men; Nelson and François Pienaar the South African Rugby team captain decided to collaborate, there was greater victory and much needed healing for a wounded nation.
Written by Patricia Gwambo, a former WYA Africa intern and current WYA headquarters intern in New York.