Love God, Love People, Change the World: An Intern Reflection

 

As I sit here and reflect on my past three months at Blood:Water, I am finding it difficult to put my experience into words. When I decided to type “nonprofits that work in Africa that offer internships” into the google search engine last September, I had absolutely no idea it would lead me to something so impactful. I could not have imagined how much this place and these people would mean to me, personally and professionally.

When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert taught me so much about the importance of development and community involvement when working to alleviate poverty. For example, the average life of a well drilled without community involvement is 18 months, but when the community has ownership and responsibility over the water point its average life is 20 years. So many of us are taught to help those in need and give back, but are we actually helping or just offering temporary relief? Just because our intentions are good does not mean we are always doing good. Blood:Water is fluent in this. They empower and dignify their African partners by coming alongside their vision for change. 

Development is not done TO people or FOR people but WITH people.
— When Helping Hurts
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While everything about Blood:Water’s mission and values stands out and is worthy of so much praise, its staff is what really sets it apart. All of these individuals truly care for one another and if you spend just one day in the office, you’ll see exactly what I mean. They aren’t just coworkers, they’re a family. You can see it and you can feel it. They all connect over a shared love and passion for Blood:Water, its mission and its partners. They work so hard and give all they have, and don’t get enough credit. “Love God, love people, change the world” is what comes to mind when I think of Blood:Water’s employees. 

Sitting here on my last day at Blood:Water is very bittersweet. I will miss this place and these people, but I can’t wait to use what I learned here to make an impact wherever I go next. Blood:Water will forever hold a special place in my heart and I am so thankful for everything it taught me. This is such a special place and I am so honored and grateful to have been a part of it.