Throughout my DukeEngage experience I have definitely encountered a few unexpected twists. For example, although I am working with DukeEngage Detroit, I have been assigned by my community partner to a project based in India with a new supervisor. The project itself is very challenging but also a good opportunity to gain consulting skills and learn more about unbalanced trade models that keep Indian farmers stuck in cycles of poverty. I am developing a farm-to-table business platform that connects rural female farmers to otherwise inaccessible consumers. While I do feel extremely underqualified, these are the situations in which I often learn the most. Flexibility and patience in the face of change are not my strongest suits, however, I think that experiences such as this, particularly within the context of much larger national and global issues, provide crucial opportunities for personal growth.
My initial community partner, a law firm in Detroit, has been overwhelmed within the past few weeks fighting for the underserved, helping to free protestors, and looking ahead to forging policies that promote equality. These are pretty heavy responsibilities to carry, but they see the necessity in their work and that their experience in protecting marginalized communities cannot go to waste at times like this. Through the resilience of my community partner I have learned a lot about selflessness and the significance of taking action.