By Dana Krimker
Well, of course there would be free Wi-Fi, healthcare for all, an endless supply of frozen yogurt and it would be spring all year long. If I could really have my ideal world, everyone would adhere to a set of community norms, resources would be easily accessible for everyone, and the “system” would value people over money.
After hearing about that world…it sounds a bit like the mind of an AVODAHnik. We recently had a program to discuss what we would want in our ideal world. It is part of our “Advocacy and Organizing” unit and we shared our community’s hopes. Previously, we shared our personal stories of how we came to AVODAH. Each one of us comes from different experiences, yet we all somehow ended up at the same place. We continued this conversation and combined our stories to create a communal story. Through this discussion, we depicted a group perspective of what the world we want to live in should look like.
Some of us found this activity easy. One person made a list of everything that made her happy. Others struggled, as there are so many injustices that we would have a laundry list. Aside from these differences, there were striking similarities in our answers as they focused on solving the major issues we work on every day. I talked about living in an HIV-free world where everyone had access to affordable medications and adhered to their treatments, where people had the knowledge to eat healthily and the resources to seek further health care; another person discussed the need for equal education for all children no matter their socioeconomic status and the importance of youth development in after school programs. Even though these answers were from diverse perspectives, we both shared the intention of achieving the same goal of eliminating these current hardships so many people face each day.
So the question becomes: how does our work and life influence our vision about the world we would like to have and how lofty can we think until reality hits us? Eight months ago, I would not have known how to answer this question. But now, my perspective of the world is reflective of my AVODAH experience. This year has changed my views on what an ideal world could look like. My work has allowed me to see the health benefits of providing nutritious meals for those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or in hospice care, and the importance of developing a trusting relationship between my clients. Learning from my fellow AVODAHniks’ work and their passions has allowed me to form a more accurate understanding of our complex world. I am now capable of seeing more parts of the world that go beyond my college education and my work at Food & Friends. Through this year, I have seen the benefits of helping those who struggle financially and must choose between paying for their medications and grocery shopping that month. But, it is through the connections between my fellow corps members that I can slowly piece together parts of our worlds to understand how the world works.
As we celebrate Passover this year, we have the perfect opportunity to think about the freedoms my AVODAH community envisioned for everyone in our world. During the Seder, we sing that next year we will be in Jerusalem and this year, I sing with the hope that we will all be free from these hardships so many of us face each day. I will reflect on this conversation and see how I can get us closer to a free Wi-Fi and frozen yogurt world…or at least use my experiences from the past eight months to improve my future decisions on how to make the world a more just place for all.
Dana Krimker is from Melrose, PA, attended the University of Maryland and is a New Services Associate at Food & Friends.