Yes! We Are Doing a Great Job! I Mean, We Are Right?
After more than three months in Guatemala watching and learning and building (things like a place to live) I keep coming back to a question that has haunted me as an adult:
Is all of this right? And how do I know?
In this case, the thing under scrutiny has been First Things Foundation. Is it right, this thing, this foundation, this cause? Is it right the way we are doing it? Is loving your neighbor by becoming a neighbor to the world’s suffering poor, right? Does it have a future? Should we continue or are we wasting our time and your money? My answer as the co-founder and director of this thing is: Yes. Absolutely. FTF is right.
The process is right.
We must humble ourselves by living simply and in a way that resembles those of our neighbors. Yes, it is right to go slow, to immerse, to see the world as it is seen by those who suffer. Yes, it is right to learn the local language and to not rely on translators. Yes, it is right to eschew western doctors and instead get our root canals and our Dengue diagnosis from local doctors. And yes, it is right to listen and learn and identify the best among the poorest, investing in their ideas and leaving our ideas for later, or maybe, for never. Yes, “development” as an idea is a dead idea. As Dambisa Moyo says in her book by the same name; western aid is Dead Aid. Our work, our investment in the first things (things like relationship and listening to the hopes and dreams of others), is right.
But then there is the second half of the question: How do we know it is right?
Epistemology is such a car crash. In the next post I will elaborate on how we at FTF know that this thing is on the right track. I will try and help you, our donors and our supporters, to understand how we know that this thing, these first things that you have invested in are, indeed, good.
In the meantime go here and join our 20 for 20 campaign if you haven't already. That's 20 bucks a month for 20 months. You'd be amazed how far your dollar goes!