This is my second blog post as an intern at the World Food Programme, but you’ll never see my first one. When I arrived last week, I wrote a blog entry about my expectations, my impressions of Rome, and myself, but I never had the chance to post it. The earthquake in Haiti changed my priorities.
It was only the second day of my internship, but the adjustment period to a new job and a new country quickly ended, replaced by the urgent need to help Haiti.
On day one, I noticed the fast pace of this office, and I was excited to be in a place where time is thoroughly used, not wasted. That first impression exploded into harsh reality the next day when the devastating earthquake called for food assistance to 2 million victims.
And so, my internship began. As I worked to gain support for WFP’s assistance efforts, to engage the world’s youth in the cause in any way I could: contacting schools, updating our web site, designing and distributing flyers, telling people how they could make a difference to the lives of the earthquake’s survivors.
I’ve heard people describe an internship as “an opportunity to try out the real world,” like it’s a shirt to try on, easily tossed aside if it doesn’t suit. That’s not how it works. The so-called “real world” depends on everyone in it. There’s nothing to exchange it with when it doesn’t fit just right, so you have to make it work, whether that’s something you do on your own or with the help of others.
That’s what we’re doing here at WFP – working as hard as possible to make things work, despite the challenges. This is one of those situations that everyone needs to pitch in to ensure its success. I may be on an internship that will ultimately fulfil my graduation requirements, but it’s put me in a position to help those in need.
In no way am I the only person in such a position. Everyone who has the ability to help the Haitians should, even if it’s what one might consider a small contribution. The truth is that size is relative. When it’s compared to nothing, small is huge. I’ve only been here a few days, but I’m realizing what a difference a small contribution can make. In the wake of this disaster, I hope the world understands that, too.