Boy to Man

Sunrise 11.jpg

Two years. Two years is powerful time frame. It stretches out yet somehow compresses things too. Is it too long, or too short? It is enough time to grow close to someone. It is also too long make goodbyes painless. As my work here enters its twilight, I find myself looking at all that has, is, and will happen. I want to share with you some of these things, not because I feel a need to self aggrandize, but in the hopes that someone will read this and want these experiences as well. I also want you to understand what happens to a person that leaves his life behind and lives apart from country, culture and friends.

As to what has happened, well that could easily make for a small novella. Lucky for you that isn't this post. For two years I lived so simply I have felt monkish. I felt Mayan. Mountainous. Unlike myself. I have undergone a transformation. The cliched version of course being: I started a boy and have ended a man.

Like many before me what took place was gradual; a baptism by time, pressure, chaos, and hope. My spiritual strength – a poor thing at the start – has been strengthened by pumping the proverbial iron amidst poverty which could easily lead one to believe there is no higher power. Mental toughness, tested and tempered against the anvil of prejudice and unrealistic expectations has given me the capacity to keep moving in an environment that breeds despair. What could have been 2 years of depression turned into 2 years of learning to cope with life.

As for what is happening now: simply the fruits of our labors come to harvest. FTF went from a nebulous idea to concrete reality. My job from the idea of helping people to doing it. Don't believe me? Take a look at our profiles. Dare to believe, like we do, that possibilities abound for the people FTF partners with. More than that, see that friendships have an untold impact on the lives of the people around you. If you need any more proof, take a look at our State of FTF blog post.

What will happen is harder to say. The trajectory of success is based on the people in the field and at home, the people reading this. Faith, something I also learned a lot of in Guatemala, is what keeps driving this whole thing forward. Yours, mine, ours. That and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease where it counts. I think you'll soon see FTF Field Workers introducing the world to new impresarios monthly. We will likely be doing our work in United States in 2019. We have new sites in Appalachia. We are developing a most beautiful medical personnel project for the clinic in Sierra Leone. Human beings who know medicine are wanted! I think our impact is only limited by the constraints of time: the time to form and nurture relationships.

After all that is the first and last thing when it comes to FTF.

Gratitude for a family. Honor for the chance at this work. Humbleness...working on that. Thankfulness – more than I can express. FTF isn't just a dream anymore, but in the ever present words of Dr. Suess, “It's not about what it is, it's about what it can become.” We are becoming.This is what happens through FTF.

Support our work. Support our humans. Support beautiful ideas held by smart, dedicated locals who want to serve their communities. No more misguided pity. And most of all.... Thank you!

Andrew Schwark