The past few months' focus on finishing my PhD thesis (due in a few months) has meant a period of reflection on the past few years in Zambia.
I'll try to summarize some of these lessons, and provide an idea of where things are going next year:
Top Ten Lessons Learned from the Project (So Fa)r:
10) Preparation is important, but adaptability is crucial.
9) Engaging the community to get behind a vision is a long process - and the process is more IMPORTANT than almost anything else.
8) A trustworthy and dependable team of locals is the project backbone.
7) Challenges and setbacks are a part of the process, and are not a reason to give up.
6) There is a fine and difficult balance between charity and empowerment, and each approach may be necessary in different situations. It's not always black and white.
5) Once a foreigner in a village, always a foreigner in a village. Don't try to change that - recognize your role and DON'T create any element of the project that depends entirely on the foreigner in the village (you).
4) If you abide by the above rule, you'll quickly realize how non-essential you really are - a very humbling but important realization.
3) Don't assume that what you think is important, is important to the people you are trying to help. Listen.
2) Everything that can break will break. And, actually, even things that aren't supposed to break will break.
1) Keep going. Surround yourself with people who won't give up.
I think that's it. I'm fortunate to have people in the project who haven't and won't give up. Pastor Kebby is a gem who has really demonstrated a maturity beyond his years. I know he is doing everything in his power to keep the momentum, despite the many challenges we have faced.
We are currently fundraising for developing a program in cooperation with other local organizations - the SAM Project and Overland Missions - who have much the same vision as we do for community empowerment through water and agricultural investments.
Please do continue to support the ongoing work, and tell others our story.
I've recently posted a new project video - please take 7 minutes and watch it!
Adam and Sari
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