Generally, in the Fall of the year (as defined by changing seasons in the heartland of America), it is common for me to be thinking about “football time in Tennessee,” upcoming holiday preparations, and questioning if any of the seasonal activities require me to dust off my stovetop or wipe away cobwebs from inside my oven in order to cook something. Colin says he usually thinks about the Yankees.
There is no typical “work day” for Africa ELI in Sudan. Our office is mobile. Essentially, wherever we are at any given moment is the location of the office. We are always thinking about our students, their retention in school, and their futures. Here is a bullet list of things that Colin, Diane and I have contemplated, analyzed, strategized or talked about in recent days. It does not reflect my traditional thought pattern for this time of the year. (Which is fine with me. No turkey basting is required for this list.)
Scholarships for more girls
Clean water and sanitation on campus and in the homes of the students
Electrical power and generators
Food for the students & faculty
School supplies – paper, pencils, “slashers” (a type of sickle for cutting grass), etc.
The 2010 school calendar and Africa ELI work plan
Launching more GEM Clubs in other schools (Girls Education Movement programs)
Communication – phones, internet, hand-delivery of documents
Transport and fuel
Medical care for the students
NGO partnerships – strengthening the ones we have and developing new ones for greater impact
Local, regional, and national safety and security
Topics for the student radio debate program
Cows and dowries
Budgets for everything
In-country fundraising, as well as US fundraising
Expanding our Africa ELI programs in new schools and new states
For the Africa ELI Sudan team, these thoughts constitute our own Apollo mission to the moon. These thoughts drive us. They keep us up at night. They motivate us to live intentionally and with passion.