I’m Midori Takahashi did an internship at Japanese NGO Kamonohashi Project (Kamonohashi) in Cambodia. At Kamonohashi, I involved in an activity aiming to stop child trafficking cause of poverty.
I had been interested in this social issue before the internship, but I was able to get lots of new insights and learnings through the internship at Kamonohashi.
I started my internship in Cambodia from August 2013. My colleagues inspired me everyday and I had fulfilling days. But at the same time I had some difficulties.
That was “Show my weaknesses”.
Even if I thought “What does this mean?” when something went wrong, I thought I should not have asked such silly things and I often hesitated to ask. I felt inferiority that I was a junior college student. It seemed to be very competent people around me, I just had fallen in my own power shortage, I could not say “I do not understand” obediently. I was afraid of the surrounding people were thinking “She is incompetent”.
Spending such days, my internship senior noticed I had not been able to blend in the new environment and told me “Don’t worry. You should not hide your weaknesses to us anymore.”
Her word woke me up. I had felt showing my weaknesses to colleagues was shame and I was afraid of being rejected from them. I had been working without understanding then I dragged everyone else down. Trusting colleagues and showing my weaknesses and things I don’t understand was not shameful.
Since I got this insight while changing myself not to bluff others I gained colleagues’ trust little by little.
I learned a lot of things from the internship environment working with adults.
Cooperating with adults, I recognized so much that my lack of self-reliance, the severity of work, my low efficiency, it took an hour for me to complete even though other people could complete in 15 min, and the impact of what I did. And I disappointed myself.
What I could do was little but my colleagues helped me and I became to feel the severity of work, the fear of taking responsibility, and the importance of teamwork. And I became to feel accomplishment and fulfillment when I accomplished the difficult things.
I learned how important they were accepting honesty that I could not carry out well and
Accepting honesty that I could not carry out well. Believing colleagues and helping each other. I learned how important these were for working as a team.
Every day I was exhausted, but Cambodian people had encouraged me and gave me smiles.
I was a student living far away from international cooperation, but I was able to have confidence while acknowledging my weaknesses.
What I did in order to support the independence of Cambodian people led to my independence.
There must be a lot of people like me who have not contacted overseas or international cooperation. I would be happy if I spread the experience of my internship abroad to as many people as possible and that as many people would step forward to overseas.
In Cambodia, I can not forget the smile of local people who share their meal even in a poor environment and took me into their circle.
Currently, I am working at a company related to food. I hope to deliver “Tasty smiles” to everyone through food.
(Editor: Misaki Tachibana)
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