Thursday, September 25, 2008

Learning from the Mistakes of Others

Ah, we’re on the home stretch now! The tile work (final cleaning) will be done tomorrow, and the painting in the second bedroom will be done on Saturday. On Monday, I can start working on modifying our waterbed frame for our new mattress-in-a-box, and we can look forward to being in our own (albeit disorganized for the moment) place again!

Yesterday, Hamadou and Pastor Emmanuel came by. Hamadou had come from his post as school inspector over 200 kms away several days ago. Pastor Emmanuel arrived yesterday morning on public transport, a minibus crammed with people and loaded to almost twice its height with baggage, bikes, motos, supplies, and animals on top. I had to admire the man’s determination. Not only is the ride itself an endurance test (5 hours of traveling squished in like a sardine with dozens of other people in hot, humid weather, bouncing along a muddy potholed road for at least the first 75 kms), but he did it even though he had an upset stomach, and got soaked in the rain on the way to the loading area in Zabré early that morning!

We spent most of the day talking about the Kusassi Association. Actually, they did most of the talking. I listened and learned. One of the most interesting things I heard them talking about was what they had learned from seeing other organizations, associations, and committees working in the area: treasurers taking off with funds, the ineffectiveness of long-distance management by directors or presidents far from the area, mismanagement by local administrators, lack of foresight and plans for long-term sustainability, being satisfied with short-term results but neglecting to train local leadership for continuing benefits & effectiveness… the list goes on (isn't it true that we learn more from the mistakes of others than we learn from what they've done right?). You can bet that I urged them to put all this knowledge to use when setting up and running the new association!

Pastor Emmanuel told us that the Kusassi church leaders were overjoyed to learn that we had indeed arrived back in Burkina. They are in the process of organizing a celebration for early October. What a great day that’s gonna be!

No comments: