Besides letting you know how intense saying goodbye to everyone was I also want to take the time to reflect my experience as an interim adviser in Mayana.
First of all I have to give MCP my deepest respect for what they were able to accomplish in Mayana from the other side. It is just unbelievable what they built up in just 5 years time and what change they brought to the community with opening the center and kindergarten just 3 years ago. And all of that with only two visits tops to Mayana per year. I have no idea how they did it, but it is amazing! Also the local team factors into that! The foundation of the cooperation is built on a deep trust for each other which you don’t find often. I am much honored that I was a part of this and got to experience the way they work together and to push things forward.
Also I have to say that I have never gotten so much appreciation and acknowledgement for something I did or accomplished – by MCP or the team. Apparently Elke also got an email from MCP saying every nice things about me and how happy they were that Elke found me. They said that they could not have baked me, even if they had the recipe. Elke, I am very much looking forward to read that email when I get back home.
When first reading the objectives of the job in Mayana I thought there was no way I can do it or even be capable of accomplishing a third of what needed to be done. In the end now I have to say that I am pretty happy with what I did and how I was able to develop the team and the center. Basically I implemented a new bookkeeping system, got all the procedures and filing in order, created a presentation about the Meho Kindergarten and Centre, put together four teaching manuals for Klaus’s computer classes and tried to teach him as much as possible about computers and how to use them. I also learned that I am a sucker for procedures, organization and corporate identity. All of this also showed during my feedback and handover meeting with Monika. I really appreciated what she said about me and the feedback I got. I am sure that the collaboration with MCP will stick and we already made plans for that. I am very much looking forward to continue engaging with MCP.
One of the things I long for the most and miss the most at my “normal” work is getting a respectful and honest feedback from people as well as recognition or even a “Thank you” for what I am doing. At home I am always busting my ass off for the company, employees, colleagues and superiors but in return most people just give you crap or don’t value at all what you did for them. Not getting a feedback whatsoever usually means you have done an “OK-job”. Here I had people getting super excited about to me the smallest things. That was a nice change for me which I also had to get used to. I really want to preserve this experience in giving thanks to others and showing appreciation for their work. I am taking home a new attitude towards leading, coaching and motivating people. Although I was the one donating my time, skills and knowledge I have learned so much more from the Meho Centre Team from this experience. I also learned what I am capable of and that I can do so much more than I give myself credit for.
I take so many more skills back from this experience but I am not sure if I will I ever use my newly acquired skills ever again. Sometimes I feel the same about seminars at work though but if you released me into the bush now I would be able to survive.
I chose the project in Mayana for few a reasons over other projects Elke offered to me. I didn’t want to put up with annoyances of the city and also I wanted the experience to be about the people. Also the concept of MCP appealed to me the most. I think it is one of a kind and targets the most important aspect to bring the community forward: EDUCATION. Even though I had to get used to some limitations and confinements, I now know that I can live without certain luxuries and how to be more thoughtful about the environment and how to act more ecological friendly. I feel like this experience has grounded me a lot and to be more thankful and grateful for where I was born and what amenities our society and culture offers. I know that I will have to remind myself of this every single day once back home because with our fast fast lives this might be forgotten quickly. What got me through the very basic living standards were the people. At the end it doesn’t matter where or how you live as long as you have true friends by your side. But I have to say that I need more variety and more diversity in life and am therefore also looking forward to return back home.
I really enjoyed my time as an interim adviser and would recommend this experience to anyone who feels in the need of doing something meaningful and is open to a change of mind. I am very happy that I did not listen to those voices and looks I got when first telling people about my plans since some thought taking a sabbatical leave would be a career killer but I feel that it has brought me so much more forward as a person and a leader than anything at home could ever have.
Those 10 weeks were just the right amount of time for me since I was able to achieve a lot and also to experience every aspect of daily life in a rural Namibian community with all the good, bad and challenging.
I got everything out of the experience what I was looking for! I will never regret my decision and never forget my time in Mayana which truly was one of the best experiences I have ever made in my life!