Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Notes from the field #1: This was a different kind of trip

John and Judy got back from Africa on March 21. We had intended to post every day or so as usual, but the internet connections were problematic. We were only able to post to the blog on March 5 ("So much for taking it easy our first day in Nairobi") and March 11 ("Little Rock Scholars: I had no idea it would be like this"). So this is the first in a series of field notes we'll be filing now that we're back. Not wanting to overwhelm you, we'll space them out over the next few weeks.

Lilly of Little Rock ECD and her family
There is always a roller coaster aspect to these trips, and this one was no exception. Somehow, I never remember that I'm going to finish one day giddy with the good news, and the next day flattened by the difficulties.

John with Sammy (l) and Stanley (r) of Nanyuki Handcrafts

This was a different kind of trip in some ways. Earlier trips have involved lots of new experiences: visiting new and unusual places (remember the De Pat Palace?), meeting new friends,
Members of Rotary Club of Nairobi East

and seeking out new opportunities to invest in hardworking people who - like all of us - only want to make a better life for themselves, their families and their communities. While there was some of that this time, most of our time was spent visiting existing projects - evaluating progress and results to date, considering what changes need to be made, etc.

This is important stuff. Eliminate Poverty Now is a public charity. We have a responsibility to be sure your donations are used properly, and we're honored that you entrust us with that responsibility. But managing existing projects is a very different sort of activity.

John and Father Godfrey (Songhai Centre)

As you'll see over the next few weeks, another theme that emerged out of this trip was that of financing women entrepreneurs (RockPads, JOYWO, Songhai Women's Capital Fund, Farmers of the Future Mother's Gardens).

Balkissa (l), Hamani (LIBO Niger) and Ramissa (r)

Shariffa (l) and Nadia (r)

Finally, there were golden opportunities to make new friends and visit old friends in their homes, sometimes meeting their families for the first time. Those were among the highlights of the trip.

John and Pete (Brach Family Charitable Foundation)

1 comment:

  1. Judy and John,
    This is one of the few Blogs I read and it's excellent. The posts are brief but get a lot of information across and the pictures are definitely worth thousands of words. I love getting these posts.