We just finished our training with the South Africa people, Bro. Elks and Elder and Sister Godfrey. They are very nice people and we had some good discussions and training. Now we have some work to do to close some files that need closing - we will have to do our best as they are not projects that we worked on but need to have the final paperwork done so SLC can close them. (There are probably about 10 or 12 of them).
We learned a lot about how we should be doing things. In ways it makes things harder for us. We need to do a lot of networking with other organizations to find suitable partners that we can work with and that we can trust. We identify a need (initiative) and find partners and have to research and write up our proposal and hope that it will be accepted. Elder Elks prefers the big initiatives (wheelchairs, boreholes, etc.) but we can also do area initiatives (under $15,000). Our budget allows for $80,000 for area initiatives and the amount for the big ones really depends on what it is - they can be $100,000's of dollars. YIKES!! We will put on our thinking caps and pray a lot for inspiration to determine what the Lord would have us do here for these people.
When it comes right down to it we are not to just give away things like we have been doing - and couples before us. We partner with organizations that do the distribution - that is why we need partners that we can trust. We could bring in a lot of something but it goes straight to the partner and we never even see it. They talked about how it is fun to give to individuals (grandparent syndrome) but that is not what we as country directors are to do. Of course we do have our container coming and it will need distribution but we will gradually get out of doing that. Also the gardens that we have been working with - need to go to the ward/branch priesthood leaders to oversee. That will also take a little time to change but we will begin the process. If they don't want to do it or don't see the need then they can be planted back into grass. (I think the members still need them.)
I made some egg salad sandwiches for our guests for lunch today. Tonight we are meeting them for supper. We really enjoy their company so that will be fun. They fly out tomorrow about noon.
We fly out to Malawi Saturday about noon and look forward to our trip up there. The missionary couple there have a full week planned for us. We will stay with them - apparently they have a 3 or 4 bdrm. house that they stay in.
It was nice to talk to Chris and Kimberley (and Brianne) on video Skype yesterday and with Scott and Tara on the skype phone. Thanks for getting that dvd for us Tara - we will be glad to have it when we get home. We and the Taylors have been watching the other ones (Love Comes Softly dvd's) on Sunday evenings. We did #4 this past week. (Good missionary appropriate movies).
Must run. Love to all, The Bullocks