The Challenge and Reward of Intentional Community

By Veronica Feliz, FC 18 SyracuseRefugee Resettlement 2

Living in an intentional community can be hard. I thought it would be the easiest part of FrancisCorps, but I was wrong. We don’t have nights and weekends off from community, which has taken more adjusting than I had previously thought. We work 40 hours a week, then we go home and are still part of this community that needs attention and interaction. A lot of things in life are about balance, and this is no different. My two other community members and I struggled a lot at the beginning of the year because it seemed like we were always around each other and therefore, why would we ever go out of our way to intentionally spend time together?

But slowly we are learning how we can be an attentive, supportive, and intentional community whether we are spending a bunch of time together or realizing we need to do our own separate activities. We like to go out to coffee shops together and I love it because I think friendship is built on conversation, which comes easily over a cup of Mexican hot chocolate or a cappuccino. We also have different interests in TV shows, music, and ideas of fun.  We share these interests with one another but we know the interest may not always be mutual, but that’s fine. We know we may have to often enjoy these interests alone or with others in the broader community, but that’s no problem because at the end of the day, we’re still a community who wants the best for each other.

I’m learning a bit of Swahili while working in refugee resettlement. One word that comes up all the time is “kidogo” which means small or slow depending on the context. So, do I know Swahili? Kidogo (A small amount). And how am I learning it? Kidogo, kidogo (Slowly, slowly). And that’s to be expected with almost anything. Whether I’m attempting to learn a completely foreign language or figuring out how to live in true community with two girls I just met, I have to remember that it comes kidogo, kidogo.