Friday, March 28, 2014

Learning by Googling

"She knows about farming?" I said hopefully.
"Nope, but I taught her how to Google."

Phil Klay, "Money as a Weapon System," in: Redeployment.

Many of us in the community development field started with more motivation and curiosity than knowledge and skill. And we didn't have Google searches or YouTube videos or TED talks to guide our way out of the thicket of ignorance.  But we were there to help. I feel the deepest gratitude to the neighborhoods and residents who allowed me to gain a modicum of skill while making me feel I was making an important contribution. This debt of obligation has guided much of my work. In a recent discussion about "trauma-informed community development" for the most challenging neighborhoods, someone commented, "Don't send us interns." What they meant was that episodic, social justice tourism can add to the chaos of neighborhoods. Yet how can we learn skills without working in the field?

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