25 February 2012

Jump, Son!

When running a sustainable community development program in a foreign land such as this, sometimes one must practice patience. The village of Garmaam could have had more patience with us, as we waiting for government approval to get back to work in their village, but now we must definitely be patient with them as they work through legitimate issues of disappointment and confusion.

Communication is fundamental to any good relationship. You can imagine how important it is in a relief effort. As we'll discuss later in the Story of the Gifted Generator, aid thrown at a village without accompanied education and follow-through can put a heavy weight on their shoulders. Not very helpful at all.

Courtney, another mom on our team, showed us effective non-verbal communication yesterday when she drew a happy face in the dirt with a stick, then handed the stick over to a nine or ten year old boy. He copied the face in the dirt perfectly. She went on to draw a sad and a surprised face. And so did he. Then she designed a hopscotch game, complete with a little rock, and demonstrated how the game is played.

We happily played together. Even with a significant language barrier. But they are open to learn and we patiently teach.

You would have laughed at our version of Simon Says.
Tapping heads and rubbing bellies, standing on one foot, turning into airplanes.

We also taught them "Red Light, Green Light" which here in Ethiopia, would be more accurately named "Donkey in the Road, No Donkey in the Road". What a riot!

We led by example, they watched closely and they copied. It would be very similar with the demonstration acre {agriculture mentoring}. With government approval {hopefully coming in the next couple weeks}, local staff will be able to return to Garmaam and reassure them, build back their confidence that we are on their team, that we haven't left their side, that we're going to teach them how to get water for their crops, that we'll connect them with local resources to grow food for their families.

TCD {Transformational Community Development} doesn't happen overnight. But when it does happen -- it's likely to last. And when one village graduates from the program {by meeting their goals in each of the five areas: water, food, wellness, income and education}, they stand as a powerful example to surrounding villages. Look -- Garmaam did it. They listened and learned and changed and they are now transformed. We could do that too.

And we say "Selam" {hello} to the ripple effect of long-lasting positive change in a poverty stricken country.

Jump, son, jump!