Mile #1: Set a Goal. Put a date on it. Go Public.
This was one of the first “nuggets” I gleaned from my Crankset Business Training (http://cranksetgroup.com/) when I returned from my first visit to Kenya last summer.
Another recent challenge shared with me by a board member and dear friend: FACE YOUR FEARS – tackle something you have been avoiding because you fear something about it – whether it’s the activity itself or fear of failure or whatever.
With these two motivating prods in mind, I have set the following TWO GOALS (among others) for my 26 day journey in Kenya which launches TODAY.
1. Submit a blog posting (technology permitting) every day for the next 26 days. (I have always been terrible at consistent journaling, blogging, facebooking etc., so this is a big step for me.)
2. Raise $26,000 in 26 days.
Think about it. This means we need 10 people to give $100 each day for the 26 days. Will you join me in STARTING STRONG TODAY so together we can meet this big goal?
Let the MARATHON begin! (Depart DIA at 4:30 pm today (Wednesday). Fly to Chicago, London, and on to Nairobi. Scheduled to arrive at 6:30 am Friday morning.)
Racing and Learning with you – thank you for joining me! (Please spread the word)
Fastening my seatbelt,
Mile #2: Sweet SOCO Moments.. (writing from London – Heathrow during my layover)
I had been wanting to give my husband Shane a hammock as a birthday or Father’s Day gift for years now. Just never did.
When The 1010 Project was selected as the featured non-profit partner by this really cool company called SOCO Hammocks (www.socohammocks.com), it was just the impetus I needed to finally give this to him for a (belated) Father’s Day gift. The 1010 Project receives 20% of the sales of all hammocks purchased on their website this month! (And we will continue to be listed as an option, if you choose us from the drop down menu upon checkout in the upcoming months!).
I purchased the double hammock and the “bomber buckles” so it could easily be hung in our “not-so-ideal-for-a-hammock” backyard.
It’s only been up for a couple days, but we ALL LOVE IT! It is super easy to put up and take down. We hung it between a tree and our little swing set – using those super effective bomber buckles. And this sweet spot has already been the perfect setting for napping, reading, snuggling, laughing, tickling, singing, giggling, praying, talking, crying, hugging, and just sharing lots of tender, memorable moments with my daughters prior to my departure.
I am so thankful for our new hammock. My gift to Shane quickly became a gift to me and our whole family.
It’s not too late to purchase yours. The whole Schaap family highly recommends it! You’ll be so glad to have one – and all of us at The 1010 Project will be grateful for your purchase, too!
It’s also great for campers!
Gotta love SOCO’s whole business philosophy and their ”kick back. give back” motto! Check out their website today! http://www.socohammocks.com
Mile #3: So good to be back among my friends here
A tiny hand emerged from the midst of the crowd with an energetic wave. The waving arms quickly turned into a warm welcoming hug from my Kenyan sister and colleague. Seeing Josephine’s bright, smiling face after the chaos of immigration, baggage claim and customs, gave me such peace and joy!
I arrived safely in Nairobi by 6:30 this morning after nearly 30 hours of traveling. I am so grateful for a safe and smooth journey here. I sat next to lovely people on all three flights and had some enriching conversations along the way. Pastor Brown drove us adeptly back to their home (no small task!) where we gave thanks together and I enjoyed the first (of what might be hundreds of cups of) tea and a light breakfast. The sights, sounds and bumpy roads were surprisingly familiar (and — even more surprisingly — not that uncomfortable) even after being away for a year.
It was fun to connect with our DU intern, Brenna, who arrived yesterday and was just waking up after a good night’s rest. After taking my own little rest (my ‘just an hour nap’ quickly turned into 2.5 hours!) we had lunch and set out to purchase our international phone cards and modem. Well, accomplishing one out of two isn’t all bad.
My meeting with the son from a family whom I knew in Japan back in 1993-94 (he was 6 back then – now he is starting his own business adventures here in Nairobi) was postponed, so it worked out well for us to have our ‘orientation’ meeting tonight with a few members of The 1010 Kenya team at Beatrice’s home (Josephine, Beatrice, Alex, Matrine, Brenna, Tabitha, and me).
The meeting was encouraging and motivating! After going over the itinerary for the next 3+ weeks, we each shared some of our goals and expectations for our time together. Pretty cool to see how we were all on the same page, while at the same time bringing unique perspectives and contributions to the conversation. We all enjoyed the lively, productive and honest conversation infused with lots of laughter and positive energy.
I shall write more about the details of our conversation tomorrow. Oh and remind me to tell you about precious ‘Sheilah’ too! My eyelids have bricks on them, so it is time to rest.
Lala salama! (Good night!)
Mile #4: A “mini” miracle with a macro blessing
(For a summary of Saturday’s activities, please see the last 2 paragraphs)
When my colleague Josephine traveled to Colorado in March, she arrived with a laptop the size of Texas. It was huge. And heavy. “This is what you carry around as you travel to the different informal settlement areas in Nairobi?” I asked her. She smiled her gracious smile and laughed her beautiful laugh. “I’m grateful to have a computer,” she responded.
A few days before I left for Kenya, one of the members of my “3to5” [intentional business community group] mentioned that he refurbishes used computer equipment. I asked him how much a used mini laptop might go for. He asked me what I needed it for. I explained that I was on my way to Nairobi and my colleague could really use a smaller computer in her work there. (Josephine had confirmed my suspicion about this – just so you know that I didn’t “assume the need” which is something we try to be very vigilant about at The 1010 Project.)
“Well then, about $1,” generous Gary replied. “I think I can afford that.” I replied, genuinely moved by his generosity. He said he didn’t always have these available in his warehouse, but serendipitously, he had just received a few in the past couple of days. Gary worked hard to get one of these turned around for me in 24 hours! When I picked it up from his office, he handed it to me with an encouraging word for the work that I’ve been called to do in Kenya and told me there was a 98 cent rebate for those traveling to Kenya. Leyna and Kaya both handed him a shiny “lucky penny.” As I thanked him, he replied, “I want my business to be a blessing to others. This is a concrete way I can do this.”
It was such a thrill to deliver this to Josephine and hear her squeal of delight, praise the Lord, and jump up and down with joy! This mini-laptop will provide long-lasting macro blessings and encouragement to Josephine in her leadership role in the informal settlement areas of Nairobi and as she travels to Western Kenya as well!
If you are looking for an incredible “Corporate Technology Liquidator Expert” (or to purchase refurbished equipment) please call Gary Seaber and his company IT Liquidators: http://www.itliquidators.com/
Stop and think: You never know when the next opportunity will present itself to use your expertise or your company’s product or service to be a huge blessing to someone or to a whole organization! Isn’t this what makes the world go round?
Summary of Saturday, June 30: Josephine and I started the day at 7 am co-facilitating an entrepreneurial women’s (mom’s) Bible Study in the morning. It was a huge treat to meet 8 new sisters in Christ who share all the joys and challenges in our roles as wives, moms, building businesses, serving at church, and growing in their walks with Jesus. We have so much in common! It never ceases to amaze me to hear how similar our joys and challenges are – it just doesn’t matter what color our skin is or where we live!
In the afternoon, we ventured into the “Nairobi Jam” to meet with another incredible Kenyan leader who is developing a Servant Leadership and Environmental Conservation program in Kenya in conjunction with some amazing people from the US who have developed an incredible Servant Leadership / Community Building endeavor in the Pacific Northwest of the US. Very thought provoking and exciting to hear about their work and think about potential synergies and sharing of resources and ideas to add strength to each other’s endeavors! It has made me stop to think a lot about what it means to be a servant leader and how we can be more intentional about cultivating servant leaders (we also talk about transformational leaders and change agents) in the context of strengthening social profit businesses and organizations.
Mile #5: When You’re Happy and You Know it…
Today was a long, full, and beautiful day of worship at Redeemed Gospel Church. Pastor Brown and I left their home with our bellies full of a “cocoa-y Cream-of-Wheat-like-porridge” just after 6:30 am to arrive at their church for a day filled with different classes and worship services.
I have to say, in addition to incredibly lively worship, inspirational and encouraging conversations, solid teaching about the power of the tongue, and the warm welcome we received at the church, one of the biggest highlights of my day was this little surprise musical moment – turning a corner to find this classroom bursting with kids singing:
Both yesterday and today, Pastor Brown and Josephine pointed out the water situation at Redeemed. (See photo). The lines are long because the electricity has been out. This water source provides water for thousands of people in the Quarry community. When the electric pump doesn’t work, they fill their water jugs from the reserve tank, which takes a lot longer. The initial need, therefore, is for a generator so the well can run even when the electricity is down. The next priority is for a water purification system and a business model to distribute the water for a profit. The 1010 Project is working on both of these needs. If you or someone you know has an interest in providing purified water and creating business opportunities, please contact me.
Mile #6: Contagious Conversations with Alice at Candlelight
Brenna and I were “handed off” to Alice Afwai today. We will be staying with her until Thursday. Her husband, Pastor Fred, is the co-founder of The 1010 Project and when I was here last summer getting the “founding tour” Andrew and I had the privilege of staying with the Afwais.
We had contagious conversations with Alice all day long. I call them contagious because she is filled with so much wisdom and insight and inspiration! And this just oozes out of her as she shared with Brenna and me! I want to CATCH IT ALL! Just when I would say we really should let her rest (she is due with her 4th baby on July 23!), we would find another topic that we just couldn’t wait to talk about.
I could write for hours about what we learned from Alice in all of her roles: first and foremost, the way she walks in faith and grace with Jesus. He lives in her heart and she loves and leads and serves with God’s love and wisdom. This shapes how she lives out her different roles in life as a wife, a mom to 3 (soon to be 4!), as the founder and director of Candlelight School, as a social entrepreneur running her (relatively) small – but solid – tailoring business, as the founder and director of a “safehouse” a few doors down from her home that provides a safe and loving environment for 28 kids between the ages of 4 and 18. She doesn’t think of them as “orphans,” but rather as a community where they have house moms and older brothers and sisters who love and care for each other. She hears God’s call to move the safe house to the country (Kitale) where she farms the land, etc . To know and meet Alice is to love her and learn from her. Deeply. And so many people around the globe do!
Mile #7: Alice’s IGA and LiveWorldly
What’s an IGA, you ask? An Income Generating Activity. Additional Revenue Source. Perhaps most easily understood simply as a “small business.” As you probably know, these IGAs are a big part of The 1010 Project’s strategy for encouraging our partners to be financially sustainable as they build their organizations that meet community needs.
For Alice, it means making skirts and purses (among other things). Alice has trained two other women in tailoring and she also finds out which of her 7th and 8th grade students enjoy sewing so she can provide them with this practical skill to augment the excellent education they are receiving at CandleLight School. Over the past year, Alice has capitalized on having access to some new markets (both locally and internationally), some of these from contacts made through The 1010 Project. I was so excited to see how she has already improved and expanded her designs, increased her production, and set a high standard for consistent quality of her skirts and purses.
LiveWorldly is one such new partner for Alice. You can check out Alice’s skirts that are now featured on their website (www.liveworldly.com) and see their Facebook page where they are doing a “LiveWorldly” photo campaign right now (hence the pictures with the sign). (We will also be selling them at Shop for a Cause on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1st – see www.the1010project.org/shopforacause)
Mile #8: It’s a Small World After All!
When Julie Porter, the music teacher at Kaya and Leyna’s school, asked me via email prior to my departure to visit the two boys she sponsors at Galilee School in Soweto (one of the most intense informal settlement areas in Nairobi), I was skeptical I could accomplish such a request.
Imagine my shock and amazement when I mentioned this to Alice and she responded, “Sure, I know the Director of that school quite well…and she pulled out her phone to dial his number.” So well, in fact, she calls him “Dad”. He’s actually her 2nd cousin. Not to mention one of the original “founding” members of The 1010 Project! How’s that for a small world?
We visited there today and it was quite an experience! We received a tour of the school (which has grown to over 1,500 children, 200 of whom also board there!) and had a fascinating conversation with the director. I was also able to pass along Julie’s love and hugs to “her boys” (even though I’m not a fan of the “child sponsorship” model in general…but no need to get into that here) and was really happy to see Evelyn again. She and I had talked a bit last summer at Alice’s safehouse and it was cool to be able to see her and encourage her one year later!
Our biggest adventure of the afternoon was having Alice’s car stall out in the middle of Soweto streets at least four times before “MacGuyver” Brenna finally fixed the lose battery connection with her hairband! (Note to Brenna’s folks and friends: don’t worry, Alice didn’t let Brenna get out of the car to help until after we were out of Soweto!)
We also had a three hour “power meeting” with Josephine at “Steer Burgers” to prepare for our 1010 Network partners meeting and the meeting with the Kenyan Advisory Board tomorrow! Brenna and I celebrated 4th of July with ice cream cones and cappuccinos! And yes, I also had half of a “Steer Burger”! (they were BOGO today for “wacky Wednesday,” so I sent the other 1.5 home with Josephine for Pastor Brown and Peter!)
Mile #9: A Guest Marathon Mile from Brenna, Our Star Intern
Greetings from Kenya! My name is Brenna and I am interning with The 1010 Project in Kenya this summer. I am pursuing my Master’s degree in Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration at the University of Denver, with a concentration in international development. My area of interest is small and medium-sized business development, and The 1010 Network in Kenya has been a great learning experience in all of these areas thus far.
Nairobi is my first experience of Kenya and the African continent. I am impressed with Kenyan hospitality; everyone invites you to their home, offers food, pours tea. I’ve met a number of incredibly strong, smart, hard-working women and men who work with such purpose. Melissa and I have stayed with two wonderful families who are partners of The 1010 Project, the Chavasekis and the Afwais, who have fed us delicious food and lots of chai.
It’s been fascinating to see The 1010 Project’s work here in Kenya, particularly the energy of our vibrant and brilliant Josephine Chavaseki as she facilitates the introduction of the revolving fund for IGA and microfinance loans. I am impressed with 1010 Partners’ resilience and perseverance while working in what must be some of the most challenging conditions in the world. The passion, faith, and grit of the Kenyan network is encouraging and inspiring. I look forward to working with, as well as learning from, the 1010 Kenyan team this summer.