Lebanon: Reflections from GCC Leader Francesca
While signing up to intern for Mercy Corps, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I had just graduated high school and started university with a strong will to be part of something big, something that would bring positive change to the world we live in. The GCC Program presented me with the perfect opportunity to do this since it gave me the chance to directly help people help themselves.
By the time it came for the program to take off, however, I had become so jaded and cynical about positive change that I started to believe that putting my time and effort into the program would not result in anything significant. On my first day as a trainer, I was very excited, yet scared. I had no idea what to expect from the people I was going to train; I even didn’t know what to expect from myself, as I’ve never done anything of the like before. “How are they going to react when I come in?” “How am I going to handle a whole class?” “What if something really horrible happens?” said the voice at the back of my head as I made my way to the classroom. When I entered, however, that voice started to slowly trail off. The more I got to know them, the more I liked them, and the more I realized that despite the circumstances they were born into, they’re all still kids with just as many dreams and aspirations as anyone else of their age. They wanted to do things the right way, and the fact that these youth are trying to improve their community during times when tensions are high in their region gave me hope. In regions such as the place I went to, one would naturally expect people, especially the youth, to be enthusiastic about discussions concerning politics, as they had conflicting political affiliations. However, I realized that the program had provided them with a suitable setting where they could instead actively discuss and argue over issues worth talking about in order to bring about positive changes, no matter how small, to their communities. I then noticed that these young people wholeheartedly believed that their project is not going to be insignificant; it matters to them because they’re doing something good, proving to people that when their energy is directed towards generating a positive outcome nothing bad can come out of it. This was not the kind of lesson anyone could learn from a textbook, and I am very grateful for that.
My role in the program was incredibly small, but what I took out of it was priceless. Sure, I had to wake up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, endure a long car ride, then return home completely exhausted, but the experience was both enlightening and challenging , and definitely worth every moment.