Looking back

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The last month of the year entices me to look back at 2021 and see what it brought me, both personally and professionally, although in my situation the two are hard to separate because I live and work in the Ruach community home.

It was a tough year as we faced many challenges at the home, in our Foundation and in the wider context of Nicaragua. Regarding staffing of the Home we started 2021 with only 2 experienced team members and 2 new ones. In April we lost the two experienced staff who had been with us for two years; they left because of very personal circumstances. But it was of course quite a loss!

Finding new employees and training them from scratch is quite a task. Of course not every new recruit is an immediate success. Mostly they have never worked with people with an intellectual disability before, so they have little idea what to expect in the job. But now in December we seem to have re-gained some degree of stability.

This year the Foundation celebrated its 5th anniversary. We have moved from the inception phase (establishing a well-functioning community home and gradually gaining more financial independence) to a ‘stabilization phase’ in which we should achieve standing on our own feet without financial support from Ruach’s mother foundation, Vivir Juntos in the Netherlands. This new phase requires a different skill set among the Ruach Foundation board members. However, in August the new Board was elected with only a few changes in the composition of the Board, and critically, no changes in its leadership. Will this new Board succeed in providing adequate answers to the financial and other challenges that lie ahead at this stage of our existence? Time will tell.

Letting go
Being employees in an organization means accepting that we are not in control and that the ultimate responsibility for the Foundation lies with its Board. I have learned a lot in the past 5 years, professionally and otherwise. Professionally, I had never set up a community centre before, and the on-going task of recruiting staff and training them on-the-job was very demanding. Personally I’ve become more aware that life itself is our school and that the lessons we didn’t learn well at first will get back to us in a different way, until the lesson is learned. My daily meditation and working on personal challenges (sometimes via online course work) has certainly paid off. I feel peaceful most of the time for which I’m so grateful, and it gives me energy to live in the now and be able to enjoy the little gifts of every day: a smile from a core member of the community, a bear hug from my son Jonathan, etc…

An open mind towards the future
Uncertainty is inherent in life, because we have no control. All we can do is live with the right intentions with a goal in mind, but, instead of claiming the goal, we try to trust in what is to come, as I have no grip on what will happen in the future. So we’re going into the new year with an ‘open mind’. And above all, ask for your prayers and moral support to guide us through this new phase.

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