“We cannot provide for every person’s physical needs, but we can definitely equip the poor with the knowledge to provide for themselves … This equipping brings a liberty that no gift or donation could ever give, as it is empowering the poor into perpetuity”.
I’ve had a really enjoyable day today putting more pieces of the puzzle into place for January and the kick off for all things educational – especially the Agriculture College. Kosele is a very challenging place to live in because there are so many people with desperate physical needs and I know that we can only meet a very small fraction of them. A while ago I listened to an interview with a nurse who had been working for an aid agency during the famine in Ethiopia that led to the Live Aid concert in 1985. She said that at times she felt as if she was “playing at being God”. I know what she means.
‘Equipping’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘empowering the poor’ are words that can ring hollow through overuse, (or misuse). It is easy to write them off as clichés. I have to believe that they are meaningful and powerful because they are fundamental to my sanity. If I stopped believing in them it would be impossible to function and I would just be another well intentioned Mzungu, (white man), with a heart for the poor and a rapidly emptying wallet.
So today has been another day of small victories – this time in team building, agricultural planning, timetable designing, colour coding, financial forecasting and, most of all, moving forward. Some days the bigger vision seems a little out of focus. Today it is easy to picture the new students at the Agriculture College, putting flesh on the bones of equipping, knowledge and empowerment.
Tomorrow might be different – you can’t predict what or who will happen to you from one day to the next. Out here many people only have a very loose grip on the basics of life. They lurch from crisis to crisis feeling anything but equipped, knowledgeable or empowered. Tonight I know that people will be going to bed hungry. Others will be sick and many will be feeling hopeless. But I also know that some young people will be sitting behind desks in our Agriculture College and working in the fields in January. And today we took another step closer to making it all happen.