As of this week I have been living in Africa for 4 months! It’s been such an amazing adventure so far and it’s hard to believe how fast the time is passing! The first 6 weeks were spent doing an orientation program in South Africa, I was then off to Malawi for 4 weeks, followed by 2 weeks in Zambia for the Hands at Work annual celebrations, and now I have been back in South Africa for a month. Honestly, where is the year going?!
From my recent Facebook posts, I have had family and friends asking if I have actually been doing any work? Or if I have just been off enjoying myself and having fun adventures in South Africa? To which the answer is, yes I have been having some great adventures exploring some really beautiful locations (like Blyde River Canyon – pictures below) on the weekends, however the last 2 weeks have also been spent in many a meeting (literally back to back every weekday for 2 weeks!) getting a feel / handover of what my work will look like moving forward with Hands at Work.
I am still getting a grasp of exactly what it is I will be doing, but here is an insight into what I know so far (just to prove I am actually doing some work! ;-))
So far it seems I have 3 main “hats” for my role here. (To back up, I am based in South Africa and for the moment and foreseeable future SA is home) For my first “hat” I am part of the Regional Support Team (RST) for South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In this capacity I have a role that is called Project Administrator. Basically this role is helping to co-ordinate all our projects across South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. To liaise between the Regional Support Team and the Service Centers in the field, to help support to make sure projects happen, and to make sure our projects are aligning and supporting the direction and goals of Hands at Work as an organisation, and that projects run to budget/plan/support challenges etc.
My second “hat” is that I will be supporting Zimbabwe from a more detailed project support perspective. This means working closely with the Service Center in Zimbabwe to help them develop proposals for new projects they would like to undertake, helping to support them manage existing projects and budgets; essentially building capacity into our local workers in Zimbabwe so they can more effectively care for our kids in Zimbabwe 🙂
And for my third “hat” I will be working with some of the broader finances for Hands at Work, helping with budgets, reporting, forecasting, etc. Basically lots of spread sheets and pivot tables (which the geeky side of me is quite fond of!)
So my weeks at the moment consist of lots of time, meeting with lots of different people, learning so much and trying to get up to speed. The learning curve is steep, but I am loving it! And hoping I get to a point where I am effectively contributing as a team member soon!
Last week I spent a couple of days working on new project proposals for Zimbabwe, we had our Monthly RST and Service Center meetings for our two Services Centers here in South Africa – Clau Clau and Bushbuckridge, and Friday we headed out to Weverdiend community for community prayer with the care workers there.
This week consists again of many meetings sitting with people and the learning of/and handover of work. However the highlight I am most looking forward to this week is that I get to head back to Welverdiend Community on Tuesday/Wednesday to spend the night with my first African family, my sister Thembi. So I am very excited to spend the night in their home again and reconnect!
That’s a brief overview for now. I will post more as I figure out more! But I can assure you for now that I am actually working and not just playing 😉
(Although the playing on the weekends has been fun! Here are a few pictures from last weekend’s adventure at Blyde River Canyon.)