What really is ‘good’ about intent in the context of a tragedy that is triggered by that intent? My involvement – increasingly these days – with NGOs sometimes makes me wonder about the rightness of my own focus and direction. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and yes, good intent that people like me emanate, outsiders to the people and processes that are involved in the minutiae of much-needed social development activity. Our ideas are met usually with warm welcome and energy. But at times I question whether the greeting smile is really a cover for gritted teeth. These people know far more about the needs of the community that they work with than I do. Some of our ideas perhaps are not a real need and I can’t help but think they are taken up because these come from people who bring in much needed support by way of generating funds and awareness.
An NGO that I’m getting more and more involved with that’s working with villages up in the mountains organizes an annual sport event for youth in that area to try and channelize all that high energy into something positive and to foster a greater sense of community. Since this is in association with a cycling advocacy group, the cycling event is the centerpiece. I was there at this year’s edition of the event. A lot of enthusiasm and energy. Very heartening to see. A few weeks later, an 18 year-old went off the cliff riding a bicycle, crushed his neck and is now a quadriplegic. Yes, he was probably going too fast and yes, his bicycle’s brakes were not working properly, but we sowed the seed of cycling in his fertile mind and it grew wild.
I’m sure there’s a lot of good that comes out of intent but sometimes the price is just too high. Am I going to stop? No, but I have definitely paused – I need to take a different direction. I’m shaken but hopefully I’ll soon be stirred to action (sorry, couldn’t help that in keeping with the general tone of the rest of this blog).
P.S.: There’s a lot more going on here than I’m able to or willing to articulate.