Monday, February 3, 2014

Cross Cultural Solutions Spotlight

CCS Main House in Bagamoyo, Tanzania
This week I'm excited to share an organization that, like Heifer International, provided me with beautiful experiences, the opportunity to bring more wonderful friends into my life, and extended my knowledge of what the world is really like. Cross Cultural Solutions, or CCS as it is more commonly known, is the volunteer organization that I worked with when I went to Tanzania. There are so many international volunteer organizations out there, but I can say without a doubt that CCS is one of the best. They offer programs for varying lengths of time to locations all over the world. Their staff is second to none particularly in the volunteer countries. The volunteer placements are varied as well depending on your interests and experience. I went to Tanzania alone and unsure about many things, but I came back with a new family and a much more confident approach to life.

Why should you leave your comfortable life and go into the unknown?

"More than ever, people around the world want change. Change in the inequities that polarize. Change in the corrupt systems that prevent self-determination. Change in the unjust repression of entire populations. 

But the change we all wish to see won't be realized through big, sweeping acts—not by governments, or armies, or the UN. Instead, lasting change will be achieved through small, personal acts of kindness and selflessness, and through the spreading of tolerance and understanding between people and cultures. Only as people become more willing to change themselves—the way they think, the way they act—will real change become possible. 

It is exactly these types of changes that Cross-Cultural Solutions makes possible. The passion that you bring to your volunteer experience will start a ripple effect, bringing change to people and the communities in which they live. Meanwhile, you’ll find wisdom and beauty in a way of life different from your own. 

You'll discover the critical role that every individual plays in achieving lasting change. You'll see that international volunteering can be a safe and exciting adventure—the trip of a lifetime where you can learn about another culture while learning about yourself. 

Change in the world begins with you. You're closer than ever to making an incredible difference." 

Me learning how to play the drums.
These words from the CCS website really strike a chord with me today. It is so easy to sit back and wait for others with more power to take charge and change the way things are. This is not just true globally. I have found so many examples in my own life. For example, maybe we think something should be happening at work, but either we weren't asked to help or we think it's someone else's job. Then nothing gets done and we wonder why. Change happens within ourselves first in very small ways, first in the way we think, then our actions share our thoughts with those around us. Someone once told me that I was a quiet storm, gradually teaching those around me about the world and what was important. It was probably one of the best compliments I have ever gotten because change does not happen over night. We need time to mull over new thoughts and welcome new ideas into our hearts.

Going to Tanzania gave me an opportunity to learn about myself as I learned the stories of my fellow volunteers and the people in the community. When I came home I didn't do anything drastic, but I made small changes in my life and my awareness of others grew. Change from that summer in Bagamoyo, Tanzania is still happening and will continue possibly for the rest of my life.

For more information on the Bagamoyo volunteer experience visit: