by: Katie Markley

Today I was reflecting on the values of our group and the ever-changing nature of the work we have begun.  Since we have been here I have realized that to work collaboratively is to adapt, to listen, to become more together than we were apart.  I am realizing that the beginning phases of a project require critical thinking and evaluation to remain on course.  With this insight I began to break down the meaning of “service learning” in order to touch back in with the heart of this project and to tease apart my own shadow involving the work.

Service requires humility, receptivity, collaboration and intention to name a few.

Learning is engaged through openness, curiosity, self-reflection, communication, and the ability to hold multiple perspectives.

In fact the concepts of “service” and “learning” seem to have very similar qualities yet when put together they require one to first find out what is needed in order to truly serve.

I noticed that this reflection came from questioning my own desire to fly half way around the planet and participate in a newly forming project.  What was driving me beyond a sincere desire to learn and serve?  I can see the part of myself who wants things to be different for the girls we are working with and for women the world over.  Closely intertwined with this part is the privilege I hold, which allows me the opportunity and experience.

The questions I am continuing to hold for this project include:

How do we build a working relationship with our partner organization while staying true to our service learning values?

How do we adequately transfer our learning experience to students participating in future years?

And, how do we remain clear in our vision and value set as a budding organization?

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