Reflecting on a walk across a village


This one is for the current and former FFA members out there, and all those who have poured into the AgHorizons veterinary training center in Haiti.   I drafted these thoughts about a month ago. Hopefully my creole is a little better.  I continue to gain perspective, but I thought I would share with you.  

A couple months back, I had the chance to visit with the Housatonic Valley FFA Chapter in Falls Village, CT.  There was a consideration to dispense with Opening Ceremonies in the interest of time.  I was glad to hear it however, as I always find there is much wisdom in the ceremonies as well as the FFA Motto, and the FFA Creed.  For those of you unfamiliar, the Motto is:


    Learning to Do,

        Doing to Learn.

            Earning to Live, 

                Living to Serve.


    If your not familiar with the Creed or ceremonies, look them up, they’re short and worth a read.  Today I found my way through the village to the vet agent’s house.  It wasn’t the one two doors away that I had gotten mixed up and thought it was.  As it turns out it was on the other side of the village.  With my limited Creole and a little grace, I found my way there!  Agent Wesley was to operate on some pigs.  Wesley recently completed the first vet agent training series at AgHorizons, a program that seeks to honor the FFA Motto philosophy.  He had his instruments and meds, the owners brought the pigs, and he proceeded to use the skills he had learned and practiced to competently complete the task with care.  A win for Wesley and a win for his village!  He expressed appreciation for my help, but the truth was, he didn’t really need me.  He had invested his time and effort, and others with a desire to serve God and fellow man had invested time and effort, and on this day I got to witness the results.  I admit I am looking forward to being part of training more agents and seeing the addition of a multi-year technical program to provide additional training and opportunities.  We hope you will share more of the joys and challenges along the way.

    People who didn’t know me and who I could barely speak with helped me along the way to Wesley’s.  I did have one reminder along the way that initiated my thoughts on the FFA creed today.  I encountered one quick thinking individual who realizing I was an outsider, rubbed her belly and put her hand out for money.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first experience with this in Haiti.  You don’t have to go far here to find real and dire lack or undeniable hunger.  Many here are indeed in need of immediate and basic relief.  Sometimes, however, we get a reminder to be conscious of the difference between a hand up and a hand out - which brought me to the creedthat speaks to “less need for charity, and more of it when needed.”  Applying the FFA motto should lead to both of those, less need and more help when needed.  We all share some responsibility in “doing,” as the ceremony says, “without labor, neither knowledge nor wisdom, can accomplish much.”  So the lines above seem like good words to live by as long as we remember, ultimately we are all serving something or someone, and we each get to choose.