I've quickly realized how short my time here is actually going to be. There are many things to do, but I am limited by time, being here for only four more month, and space, being just one person.
> Inawezi kana kufanya vitu vote.
It is impossible to do all the things.
I'm feeling the tension of a very classic community development principle. I'm coming face to face with great need. Now, I have the option to try to do things myself, which might be quicker and easier, but not long lasting or sustainable.
I have the option to get the staff to see the needs and have them come up with solutions, which is a much longer, laborious process that might not even get the results I am hoping for.
I've decided that my goal during my time is to equip the staff to do their jobs better. I feel that that is the best use of my time, and it will last long after I'm gone.
How am I going to do that?
Well, to start, I've been leading a series of weekly staff development meetings. I've been fascilitating activities and discussions that will bring greater self-awarness and spirit of unity among the ECHO team. That's the goal, at least.
So far, we've done a short bible study from Genesis 1, where we discussed God's work ethic and how that should reflect in our own work. Then, we discussed how that fit into the mission and vision of ECHO. Before we started to work our way towards talking about our roles and responsibilities, I first led an encouragement/affirmation activity to help inspire a culture of affirmation amongst the staff. I wanted them to know first and foremost that they are valued, appreciated, and do good work. We have been doing a few different activities to look at how we spend and prioritize our time. I am hoping that we will continue to celebrate the areas we are excelling and create a plan of action for where we find gaps.
Staff development meeting
Equipping and empowering the staff
I've been spending the rest of my time working with the nursery, helping figure out an efficieint and appropriate inventory system, along with helping with small tasks around the gardens, seedbank, and any events.
I feel like I have settled into a routine and am enjoying my days, even though they are hot and dry (pray for the rains to come soon!). I am excited to see how these activities will progress in the coming weeks and months.
Like Elena, I have been feeling the tension of being limited by time. It is quite clear that God has brought us both here intentionally, and part of our assignment is learning to balance our time and relationships. Honestly, I don't have it all figured out yet, and I am still working on how to be most effective with my time.
I have focused on helping, encouraging, and learning from the staff here.
Currently, I am working together with the Appropriate Technologies manager as he trains local students to develop creative and sustainable solutions to challenges in Tanzania.
I have been able to witness wonderful community empowerment through the building up of local engineers, businessmen, and farmers.
I have also been able to learn more about the specific challenges that Tanzanian farmers face: challenges of pest pressure, climate change, and marketing. The staff here is proactively researching and addressing many of these challenges in collaboration with the local farmers.
Testing the Maresha Plow
The latest appropriate technology project