Two Years in One Poem

You leave

everything you’ve ever known behind.

Full of possibility

And hope.

 

You arrive

thinking, believing,

that you can

improve knowledge

affect behavior

enact change.

 

Sometimes your projects succeed;

But more often than not,

they fail.

 

Sometimes, they never even lift off the ground.

 

You grow frustrated, angry, and tired.

Maybe, probably, you grow cynical

and a little jaded, too.

 

And you blame

everyone you can think of

to blame:

 

The organization that isn’t supporting you.

The beneficiaries that aren’t listening to you.

Yourself, most of all, for not being better, for not being perfect,

for not being

what you think

people expect you

to be.

 

You might cry or sink into despair

And you’re so far from home.

 

But then, something happens

Most likely something small.

 

It could be that a shy student

learns to play a “C” chord on your guitar

or masters your favorite English slang

or brings you pineapples

or mangoes

or lychee

or fish

or write you a letter in her best, broken English.

 

It could be that you finally succeed in making akoho sauce that is just as, if not more, delicious

than the one at your local hotely, and now your neighbors are asking you

for the recipe.

 

It could be

that you sit with a friend who is hurting,

and you realize, maybe for the first time,

 

You are not alone.

 

It could be at trip

or a dance

or a night out on the town

or a first kiss

or a joke that you finally understand

and that makes you laugh

from the bottom of your belly, all the way up to

your nostrils.

 

And then, all of a sudden,

Two years have passed.

 

Your time is up.

 

And you realize

That your journey

Was never made up of big moments—

 

But of thousands and thousands

 

of little ones.