Learning to Embrace Flexibility
October 28, 2014
The following is a reflection from SHARE’s Communications Coordinator, Claire Moll, about her experience at the CCR’s 2014-2016 Executive Board elections.
Active citizens of Chalatenango exercising their right to vote
Living and working in Central America these past few months has taught me to expect the unexpected. So far, Plan A has yet to happen, but rather we always seem to reach Plan F when all is said and done. Being from a culture that upholds over-organizing and planning, I have quickly been forced to loosen up and embrace flexibility. So far, it has really worked out for the best!
This past Saturday I put “embracing flexibility” into practice. Isabel, the SHARE El Salvador Office Director and I took a trip up to Chalatenango to show our support for the CCR’s new Executive Board elections. SHARE accompanies the CCR, one of CRIPDES’ 6 regions, in sistering relationships and projects. They work with many of the historic sistering communities by sponsoring human development projects for women and youth.
When we entered the meeting space, I was surprised to see so many people in attendance. I recognized various faces from two of the communities that we accompany: Ignacio Ellacuria and Nueva Trinidad. As I listened to the program, Isabel pointed out the various mayors, governors, and legislators in attendance. I had no idea that so many dignitaries involved themselves in the work of the CCR. This sparked a strong sense of inspiration in me that grew throughout the rest of the event.
About halfway through, 20 minutes before the actual elections were to begin, a woman from the CCR office approached Isabel and myself. “We would like to have SHARE representation on the elections commission.”
Claire administers the ballots
Isabel regretfully declined her participation by saying that due to physical limitations, she really couldn’t take part in the commission. However, in what I am learning to be Salvadoran fashion, she offered me to be part of the commission. Trying to hide my terror, I responded with all the enthusiasm I could muster, “Oh, yes, of course I will help out!”
In that moment, never having been part of an elections commission, I thought to myself, “What did I just get myself into?!” However, like I said before, this job and culture has really pulled me out of my comfort zone.
When it came time for people to vote, I was handed a folder and told that I was in charge of Region 4. I’m sure my eyes resembled those of a deer looking into oncoming headlights at that moment. What did that mean? I quickly asked the person standing next to me for clarifications.
Having a bit more clarity, I headed towards my table that already had a line of people waiting to cast their vote and participate in the democratic process. Once everyone from Region 4 deposited their ballots in the large white box in the middle of the room, the time came to count the votes. Sitting around a table with all of the aforementioned dignitaries, I, a volunteer from the States, felt once again a bit out of my element. However, it wasn’t enough that I was just sitting at the table, everyone looked to me to record the official count and fill out the official paperwork at the end. Again, I was so nervous and taken aback by their expectations of me. Accepting, however reluctantly, the task at hand, it dawned on me. In that moment, I was serving as an important cog in the perpetuation of not only the democratic process in El Salvador, but I was supporting an organization that held the hope for a better future for people who have been suffering for generations.
The newly elected CCR Executive Board
In all of my worry about whether or not I was qualified to do what was asked of me on Saturday, I had been missing the bigger picture. No specific qualifications or talents are required to stand up for what is right. I don’t have to be a politician to support the work of the CCR in promoting a culture of advancement and peace. All I need to be is me, a volunteer from the United States, who is not afraid to be thrown out of her comfort zone, with a heart for working with others.
Every day this job, this country, and the people provide me with another lesson and encourage me to reach my full potential. The shared vision between SHARE and our counterparts for a peaceful and just El Salvador inspires me to do my job as Communications Coordinator and to put on whatever other cap the people need me to. (ie Elections Commission Team Member!) I am so humbled to be part of an organization and surrounded by individuals who are relentlessly dedicated to securing a better future.