Consulting in Africa
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 06:07 PM
I love the multitude of cultures I am surrounded by and working with at this consultation.
I love it when Africans look sidelong, exposing the contrasting white of their eyes against their pupils and skin.
My resume will now say that I worked with a global organization as a multi-cultural communication consultant and trainer.
I was in the south of the equator for a couple hours transferring flights in Nairobi and soaked in my beloved southern hemisphere.
This is the end of day three in Uganda. Jinja is just barely north of the equator so is quite hot. It’s the rainy season, but I’ve barely seen a drizzle. I think it rained last night though. The flash of lightening can be seen quite often though.
My first day was a flurry of traveling as I met up with my friend who works in Kampala and picked me up, helping me navigate the taxi and motorbike system here. We had a brief meeting that night to get acquainted and talk about what this week would be.
On Monday we began to lay the ground work for the consultation. No, not conference. We are 40 consultants here to identify the problems in YWAM’s (Youth With A Mission) communications, find solutions to those problems, and create a course of action to put those solutions into practice. I am the only person not directly affiliated with a YWAM base. I thought there would at least be a few other outside professionals.
By Monday night we’d identified a myriad of issues and on Tuesday we broke into smaller groups to tackle the five different over-arching categories. Many individual challenges and issues have been spoken and tomorrow I expect we will start unraveling solutions.
Initially it was a little frustrating as I came here with a practical mindset to start solving problems. But YWAM being a Christian organization they need to tackle things from a different angle. The first several sessions were based around their unique challenges as a missionary organization. Plus all is based in the foundation of faith, so it is a very spiritual angle. This isn’t a problem at all of course, just took some adjustment on my part and patience.
It is also interesting being the only one who doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome. I am not going to be taking back our resolutions to a YWAM base or school for implementation. I am coming along side everyone here to help them brainstorm and create answers, but while I do have a lot of experience with YWAM, this isn’t directly my fight. There are then situations which I do not fully understand. I hope my unique perspective will be helpful to the group.
I have one more week left here and I am excited for upcoming opportunities to get off campus to go see more of Africa! Thursday many of us will visit surrounding ministries including an HIV/AIDS clinic. Next week before I leave I will visit my first and the street boys shelter where she interns. Halfway through my trip and it feels like a several weeks have passed. Here’s looking forward to the next half with excited anticipation!