One of my guiding principle is that we work better together than alone – as we say in French “L’union fait la force” (Together we are stronger). And one of the pillar of Bee the Solution is that communities can help themselves.
One of the “issues” that I did find sometimes (often…) is a lack of unity within community. There is a lot of competition between people and this somewhat hinders the ability to rise in many occasions.
I do not want to generalise, but this is the generality of what I see. I do know of communities that work together. But the ones that have been placed in my path are most times not united, working against each other rather than with each other… This is maybe why they have been on my road… I do not look for specific places, it has mainly been through people I have met or the road I have taken. There must be a reason.
One of my primary focus from there is to explain the concept of unity. To explain how working together can take us a step further and how working against each other can take us a step backwards. This is the first step to start a project together: get the community to understand their interest in walking in the same direction as one.
We believe what we want to believe and we do what we think is best: I do not set to change cultural views. I believe that in many case, I am not trying to change the “old” culture but rather the “new” culture that arose from possessions – everyone want what their neighbour has and will step on him to get it first. In the end, instead of growing and rising together, some communities hinder each other and go down together. As someone in a community did mention as a reason why his community is struggling: “People here pull each other down.”
I have seen the example of a community craft market that was robbed by one member of the community. This meant the end of that market and the community was now back to “harassing” tourists, ten at a time. This attitude makes the tourists annoyed with all and generally they just leave without buying. And the stealing was not even about getting more money… only for the sake of stealing.
I have seen villages where people do not want to buy solar panels for lights in the evening: they could afford one of the small, cheap panels available. It is not so much a question of money. They do not want it because if you buy a panel in the community, it is very likely to be stolen the very next night by someone from the community (and again, not necessarily because of lack of money from the neighbour…).
To try and explain how working together can help and how the current attitude can be counter-productive, I use the following analogy, to make it easier to understand the concept as people can picture it as something they know.
Two people want a fruit from the top of the tree – they are at least 3 situations:
- One climbs the tree on its own, and the other is watching, waiting for its turn. They will make it but it will not necessarily going to be easy and it will take time.
- They are fighting to be there first and prevent each other to climb. One will eventually make it (and this is not even sure) but it will take more time and efforts than if he had been alone. The second will either also make it, taking even more time or he will not make it at all and will be in even worst shape than before (crushed to the ground).
- They work together. One is helping the other to get 2 fruits (one for each). They will get the fruits faster and it will be easier for both.
How is your community?