What are you changing today?

City of Joy in Bukavu in eastern Congo – is an initiative to change the role of women by transforming pain to power.

One of the many fascinating things about being in Congo is meeting all these people who want to be – and are – part of change and peacemaking. I love the conversations and the visions evolving, making you realize how we all can contribute to make our world a safer and more happy place to live in.   

“Be the change you want to see in the world” is the quote from Mahatma Gandhi always to be remembered. Just changing ones attitude to other people can make a lot of difference. Looking at things from a different angle. Change is always possible.

Many of my congolese friends and colleagues have dedicated their lives to make a change in their country: to save the forests, assist the pygmies, liberate child soldiers, heal trauma, reinforce women, reconcile between people etc etc. And my white friends – the muzungus – who have come here to do their part by sharing their special knowledge and skills.

During one of those conversations – with a spine surgeon from New York who has started a project to offer operations to people who have damaged their spine, often due to falling while working in the mines – I came to think of a favourite poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for may for once spring clear without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do
flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

I know that every person has this ability to change the world exactly where they are, and you have probably found what you can do easily to make a difference, right?