Как да убедите родители си да ви пуснат на обмен в чужбина

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Changing the world one Colored Glasses workshop at a time

This post was written by Paula Agüero, our Argentinian intern.

As a former exchange student, YFU volunteer, current intern and human being that simply doesn't live in the same country where born; there's a set of questions I'm used to hear. There's as well a set of answers. Short. Simple. Sweet. They are true, yes, but I do cringe inside every time I give them.
The other night I was having a Bulgarian dinner with Bulgarian people, as you could expect when you move to Bulgaria, and I was asked one of the very well known set of questions: the ones that start with “why”. I gave my very well-known answer: because blah blah blah... and to get to understand this culture.

“You will never understand this country. You're not Bulgarian”

Conversation goes on. And yes, my country is not doing great either. 

“And what are you doing about this? How will you “change the world”?

In all fairness, all my short answers can sound very idealistic. For me, the fact that bad things happen it’s understood and I don't want to dive into the cruelness and darkness of the world in the first two minutes of drinking my rakija. I wish I could explain how “changing the world” is the headline and ultimate goal, yes, but for us that's the tip of the iceberg. And I really don't think we had enough rakija to go through it all.
When I do a Colored Glasses workshop, it's not the world I'm trying to change but one kid's mind. I'm not aiming to start a revolutionary explosion with this workshops, I'm just setting off a chain reaction. I'm not going to explain this or give examples, just take my word for it... at least for now.
The “Colored Glasses” name is not aleatory, разбира се. It's in reference to the widely known Colored Glasses analogy. In short:
You, Bulgarian, yellow glasses. Me, Argentinian, blue glasses. We were born with them just like the rest of the Bulgarians and Argentinians. We see the world, reality, through this glasses. For Argentinians, reality is blue. For Bulgarians, yellow.
Our worlds would crash forever if we kept on shouting “YOU'RE WRONG THAT TABLE IS CLEARLY BLUE/YELLOW”. Instead of only asking what is that you see, I should be asking why you see it. Take me through your life path. Make me go with you to the beginning of all. Get frustrated with me when I hit those bumps on the road and it looks like I won't be able to get it.

Get mad.
And calm down.
Calm down so you can start once again.
We are finally at the point where you can show me you were born with this view. But this process is never one-sided: by getting so frustrated with me, you'll understand my frustration as well. If you were able to convince me, it's because you listened. In the process you will learn about my yellow glasses and, by no means, you'll try to take them off. You know you can't. They are attached. But I can, however, put on a pair of Bulgarian glasses. 
And now my reality is green.
Yes, I will never be a Bulgarian. And I'm not aiming to. I'm just trying to understand where you come from in order to empathize with you. That's the only thing I want, and the only thing we need: empathy.
With the workshops, in the end, what I'm trying to get across as a Colored Glasses facilitator is actually just a reminder. I need to remind one kid that, as a person, he or she is an empathetic being. And, as a person, that kid needs to exercise that power. Then, they will have the power to understand (without the necessity to agree) a thousand of realities. Trust me, only afterward, you will be able to actually begin to understand your own. And this is the first step needed to take -appropriate- action.
To answer this man's last question: I am not changing the world. I'm just changing some kids minds.
And that means the world to me.

If you are interested in collaborating with the Colored Glasses project, there are two ways you can do that:

1. Become a teamer! If you live in Bulgaria, contact us for more info. We will be holding a training in Sofia from February 26th till the 28th.

2. Donate to our cause here. Whatever amount you can give us makes Colored Glasses grow better and bigger in Bulgaria! 

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