Sunday, January 2, 2011

Why do you do what you do?

A very good friend of mine, Miriam, went to Burning Man a few months ago. This yearly event in the American desert brings thousands of people together to find inspiration and 'breathe art' - as their website indicates. Miriam came back showing me the website of "Why do you do what you do?". It's an initiative that started at Burning Man, where people where asked to describe on a sheet of paper why it is that they do what they do. Of course, you have to do it on the spot and may have a better idea afterwards; it's just a snapshot. But especially these spontaneous moments have the tendency to bring up the best in people.

During a course I did a few weeks ago with other development aid workers, the questions popped up again. Why do we go to Indonesia, Sudan, India or Uganda to work on human rights or peace building? Why do we train others to this kind of work? Why (especially in a climate more and more critical towards development aid) do we do what we do? Curiosity for what the other participants would answer made me ask them: Why do you do what you do? A bit shy at first and insecure of whether they'd be willing to participate, I was happily surprised by the funny and encouraging results afterwards. A good way to start the new year, I think - Ask yourself the question too...

Susanne Wienholt-Kall, Civil peace worker in training for Uganda: "I had this idea of 'WAS THIS IT?' NO!!! :)"

Irma Alpenidze, trainer at MDF: "I love to interact with people that want to change"

Heleen Reedijk, trainer at MDF: "Because I am good at it and it stimulates me. Love to work/interact with people"

Ulrich Thum, Civil peace programme advisor: "Because it keeps me from doing the same things all the time"

Jonas Wipfler, trainee of AGEH and Misereor: "I cannot imagine another job as challenging as the one I have currently"

Amna Muharemovic, Trainer at MDF: "Because I am still 'figuring it out' :)"

Martijn van den Boogaart, Consultant for GZB: "Because I want the church in Malawi to really live out their faith"

Eliza Isabaeva, Student: "Because Eliza always does what she wants, loves & crazy about"

Me, Advisor on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: "Because I can't help wanting to help other people"

1 comment:

Miriam said...

While looking up your links, because it's always cool to see them going to my own blog (THANKS!!), I obviously also got linked to the Burning Man site. Which made my eyes tear up a bit. The new theme is announced for this years edition. I would love to be able to go! But, as you say in your next post. Look at things on the bright side: It was wonderful and maybe one day, I will go agaiin!

Thanks for spreading the word!! (both of BM and of WDYDWYD)