With a coffee in one hand and my computer bag in the other I deftly shoulder check the front door open then cringe as I miss the critical last second foot wedge that stops it from slamming shut. It’s 6 am and since I had just officially awoke Kent with my poor door handling skills I call back, ” See you in June, I’ll miss you!” I wasn’t leaving on a long work trip though, just a day trip to the school to get a few things done.
Every year about 3 months before we return to Canada, each of our work lives become a personal vortex, leaving us each in our own concentrative effort to keep our feet on the ground. I think it’s the realization that we’ll soon be heading back to Canada that stimulates this sense of urgency to do everything we can before we leave and then some.
During this time we operate on a need to know basis. Neither of us wants to burden the other with unnecessary details as it feels like so many small bits of irrelevant information are already slipping out of our ears as our brains reject them in an attempt to make space for higher priority thoughts. We do have a very general sense of what each other is up to though and trust that discussions will take place over important matters.
This past Sunday we did manage to find the time for a more in depth conversation about each other’s work and I must admit I was rather surprised to hear about all the things Kent and his right hand man Wilson have been up to. Apparently these two move at supersonic speeds so an untrained eye like mine has a hard time seeing it all.
It appears that Kent and Wilson are quickly becoming the “go to people” for anyone that needs beekeeping training and supplies. This year they transformed the beekeeping suit, constructed a locally made smoker, systematized the building of beekeeping boxes for a more cost effective box and revolutionized the beekeeping training program.
In March alone they provided 90 beehives, 35 beekeeping suits and 35 smokers for a youth livelihoods training program. As we speak, they are also monitoring a beekeeping training program to ensure quality instruction. All of these activities are building the beekeeping industry in Liberia, giving every farmer that bee-keeps a better chance at a successful future in this career.
The outcome of all this commotion is JOBS and SKILLS. And these are two things that are desperately needed here. The skills – jobs – money sequence means economic autonomy for Liberians and that is an incredibly liberating and empowering outcome. I quite proud that a small lean organization like UOF can have such an impact on a country, how about you?
As for the rest of his stories, I’ll leave those for another time. My vortex is pulling me back in and I kind of like it in there.