I have received respect in Peace Corps since the moment I stepped off the plane and I've been trying to earn it ever since. It's hard to pinpoint where the respect comes from in the first place, but I'd venture to guess it's includes ideas like American, man, white, tall, government, wealth, power, visitor, foreign, different and outsider. I am many things, of course, but I am also only one thing: a human trying to make sense of this world and do the right thing. That's the real trick, and where the respect will be earned, doing the right thing. This takes focused attention on everything I do: respecting everyone I interact with, helping everyone I can, thinking about indirect actions and how they impact the world. Smiling at the lady I buy a shirt from and asking her how her day is. Knowing where the shirt comes from, what materials are used, how the workers are treated and on and on. It's daunting not only in scope but in importance. Respect for every action helps me understand how much of an impact I truly have on the world. Every moment matters and, especially in Peace Corps, people notice.
"Action expresses priorities." Mahatma Gandhi