Before I get into more details about Livingstone and our week exploring southern Zambia and Botswana, I thought I’d revisit this great post!

Knowledge is power, power is education, education is empowerment, empowerment is knowledge. Marcus Aurelius stood as a great philosopher king in his time. Today his memoirs offer us a glimpse of the man, his thoughts and his character. It’s up to you – the choice is yours seems to be the most recurrent theme in his writing. A theme I heartily agree with.

Knowledge is the key to everything. Empowerment – the act of gaining power and opportunity is simply a product of gaining knowledge.

Life is what we choose to make it. More so, it’s up to us to make life what we choose. I’ve written on this topic before, but educating and sharing knowledge often leaves me frustrated with lack of results and motivation. It’s a part of every activity I do. A group mobilization session and motivation session.

Fighting against years of donors and others using the pit of ignorance model has left me in a tough place. Where There Is No Doctor – officially my favorite field manual for health – illustrates the difference so well. Picture a man, sick, in a pit. Along comes a doctor, he throws down a handful of pills and says, “Don’t ask questions, just do what I say. Take two morning and night.” Now imagine the same situation – the doctor offers the man a hand and helps him out of the pit, saying, ” Come up here with me.” Metaphoric for the act of educating and creating long term sustainable development.

On a basic level all humans are curious. We want to know, see, feel and understand. On that same level at times we understand a quick fix without realizing the cause or source and solving that.

Prevention vs. curative right? But it’s a lot easier to take a pill than change your daily habits, even if it’s just a small one like washing your hands. It’s usually not until your children die, or even you almost die, that you decide it’s time to find out the source.

Depressing right? Like behavior change it can be a nightmare. It doesn’t mean these people want to suffer, or that they don’t care or are lazy. It means that they don’t understand. They haven’t been given the knowledge in the right way. I guess that’s a failure so far on our part.

You can’t blame the students if they fail, instead you have to step up, take responsibility, problem solve, and find the proper way to access each student and help them understand – teach them and empower them. Maybe they know the information but don’t implement it. Why is that? What’s going on? It’s time to explore the situation, look with eyes unclouded and learn how to teach.

We never stop learning, and as a function of that blessed gift, we are always growing more powerful, strong, and able. There’s a reason that every culture on the planet values elders. They’ve had more time and learned longer than we have. Even if we’ve absorbed more content there’s no substitute for that time.

After all it’s us who affect change. It’s up to us to empower ourselves; to seek knowledge and find the way forward.

It is up to us