Tuesday, July 27, 2010

everything is possible

There is a common saying here in Bolivia: "Todo es posible." Everything is possible. It's something the locals say (though, not necessarily with 100% confidence) when they seem to be up against all odds. It's like an aloud expression of faith to themselves and others that all will work out. In the end, if you believe in the possibility, everything will be okay.

Todo es posible.

With four years of Bolivian life experience under my belt, I've been able to trace a personal evolution of my reaction to this way of thinking; this idea that it's better to believe in the possibilities of success rather than consider the odds of loss. In the beginning, amused by the positive reaction to seemingly insurmountable problems, I would smile and then repeat the words, "Todo es posible." Admittedly, I was thinking, "Well, okay... yeah, but realistically probably not gonna happen."

Students, faculty, staff, and UAC-CP Director Fr. Freddy (center) take on the "impossible" task of moving a tractor...by hand.

But experience has taught my doubting-self that, in a place where things seem more improbable than possible, folks are on to something. With dedication and determination and, perhaps most importantly: the faith that everything really is possible, small wonders are often worked. The things people might consider improbable or impossible become reality.

A simple example. A couple weeks ago I caught myself doubting the ability of a group of students, faculty, staff, and UAC-CP Director Fr. Freddy to move an old, no-longer working CASE tractor from the women's dormitory to its new resting spot about 30 feet away. "Seriously?" I asked a colleague as we examined the multi-ton yellow beast, "how are they going to move this thing...by hand?" He shrugged. "Todo es posible."

And so I watched, my digital camera in hand, videotaping first the inability to even budge the tractor, and then the discussion of what to do next, and then the gradual progression of more and more people joining in with new ideas and solutions and pushing/pulling power and cheers. And then, just like that, everything became possible (as indicated in the following super short videos):

Video 1. --The Push.

Video 2. --The Arrival.

I'm often reminded here in rural Bolivia, a place where the odds seem stacked higher against people than in other parts of the world, that if you truly believe that todo es posible, you do have the power to move mountains, as the say. Or, at the very least, move tractors.

1 comment:

Beth said...

We loved the videos! They give a much better feel of what it's like around the university, and of the students, than a simple photo.

Beth, Grace & Sam