I write this blog from our home community in Juigalpa, but when you read this I hope Jonathan and I have arrived safely in Guayaquil, Ecuador for a short holiday. We lived there for three years and are glad of the opportunity to visit our friends there again with whom we have maintained lively contact.
Lots needed to be arranged before our departure. There is no single person who can replace me. Our home already runs with a minimum of staff as we try not to spend more on salaries than strictly necessary. And there is no point thinking about employing a temporary worker as we already have a hard time finding suitable permanent staff. So while I’m away, more is demanded of the permanent staff; the members of the Ruach Board will have to chip in. Of course everyone agrees to this, and people don’t begrudge me a holiday as it is clear I have spent a lot of time and energy on our work. The goodwill is there. Let’s see how it will turn out in practice.
Fortunately our current permanent staff are well established in their roles and tasks and they form a good team, forged by the meetings at the beginning of each working day. Many decisions are taken in consultation which adds to the sense of responsibility that everyone will feel. It also helps to more quickly identity the weaknesses of the team. But it is nonetheless quite a process to teach people to observe their own behaviour so that they no longer hide behind, for example:
- the hierarchy: work relation in Nicaragua tend to be quite hierarchical;
- statements like: “But I didn’t see it happen”. Staff ought to become more alert about what is happening around them and to see this as part of their responsibility.
- the excuse: “But I had the best intentions”, because good intentions do not always work out well.
But there is no doubt that the team is on a good learning track!
My activities in Ecuador
In one of the team meetings we discussed the minimum support that the team thinks they need, and the team made a reasonable list of requirements for consideration by the Board. One request was to have a weekly meeting with me via Skype to discuss current affairs.
Besides that I will visit some activity centres in Guayaquil so that we can learn from their experience. I have already made contacts and one of the organisations would like to explore whether we can start a link relationship.
And if after all that I were still able to write a blog from Ecuador? Nothing is impossible, because what the heart is full of…. but don’t tie me to this. In any case we hope to let you know at the beginning of April how we have been faring.