Blog Post 3: Personal Mission Statement

Mission Statement:  Living is not enough; we must seek growth through experience.

The thought process behind this mission statement returns to debates that took place in the last two blog posts about what it is to be impoverished.  Is poverty a lack of income or a lack of mobility?  Are these two concepts mutually exclusive?  Can we “solve” poverty by addressing one and not the other?  The answer, in my mind, is that one problem cannot be addressed without considering both the hindrances on the surface (income)and those that are hidden behind everyday struggles (poor nutrition, lack of education, etc.).  What is interesting about La Ceiba, and perhaps unique, is that it allows for the formation of close bonds with our clients through programs such as Constant Client Contact as well as the visits to Honduras in which we are invited into their homes and their lives.  This personal connection provides us with not only the opportunity to change our client’s situation on the surface by giving them loans, but also creates a basis of trust so that we may better understand their more deeply rooted struggles.

Certainly, there is no doubt that a lack of income is the most general way to describe poverty, but simply providing money in the short run offers no opportunity to make long term life changes.  Without direction we cannot ensure that our clients will continue to thrive outside of the La Ceiba loan program.  A persistent ambition to help our clients to help themselves ought to be the end goal of this organization.  In its most general sense, this means to provide them with the ability to thrive without our presence.

Because the students that work in La Ceiba are not endowed with all of the knowledge necessary to fulfill this goal, our efforts through research and design have not only humbled us, but have provided us with a greater understanding and breadth of knowledge.  That in itself is personal growth.  Beyond the academic knowledge that accompanies participation in La Ceiba, the personal self-awareness channeled through the interaction with others completely different from yourself, offers everyone, Honduran and American, the opportunity to free themselves of the bonds of familiarity and recognize some of the forces that truly drive this world.  The lack of available experiences impoverishes us in our failure to recognize the potential in others as well as ourselves.  The first step to ending poverty is bridging the gap between what we know and what there is to know.

One Response to “Blog Post 3: Personal Mission Statement

  • salvarez2012
    14 years ago

    I agree with you, Caitlin. On the most basic level loans are a short term fix for the long term problem of poverty. The struggles these women face did not randomly fall upon them. Their struggles, to my knowledge, have persisted overtime; and perhaps we’ll even come to learn that this poverty is generational or historical. With that being said, loans alone can’t fix the evolutionary nature of how this poverty started. I think you’re absolutely right that we can and should provide direction through education and initiatives like the BPC to help our clients build sustainable growth in their own lives.
    In regards to the mission statements, I’m finding everyone’s ideas really interesting. We’re all touching on very different aspects of La Ceiba that, collectively, define what our clients and ourselves hope to achieve.
    “Living is not enough”, is such a thought provoking line for me because it suggests that for our clients subsistence is not enough; the bare minimum does not have to be a standard for their lives. It is my hope that we can help our clients identify areas where they may be just “living” and assist them in moving towards “growth”. From a student’s perspective, this line makes me challenge myself in a way that isn’t always comfortable. I think it’s the challenge of this whole experience that is going to push us in directions we didn’t know we could go. It’s a tough realization to make that everything you’ve learned and experienced in the past isn’t enough to just find a solution to this community’s poverty. I feel that it’s only through accepting this notion that we can encourage each other as students to keep trekking towards a goal that isn’t always obviously defined (hence writing a mission statement). La Ceiba is a two way street and I think your mission statement is broad enough, yet concise enough to encompass the two worlds that are impacted by this experience.

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