Monday, July 27, 2009

The Year Ahead

(Kicking off Monday right, a new voice in the 'guest blog' world, MPIE's new Country Director, Bibi Al-Ebrahim)

"Last week I was not here in Ecuador. I was across the globe at my brother’s wedding and fully enjoying a family trip. But, it was impossible not to think of Ecuador, not to think of the new Program Directors with whom I will spend the next year, not to be concerned with what I may have been missing. I suppose angst stemmed from my fear of missing out on some group adventure or inside joke.

As the new Country Director for Manna Ecuador I too am starting a new adventure. And it may be just that that this group of new PDs, the first group of PDs under my supervision, will prove to be the most influential and sentimental in my experience. Although Ecuador and Spanish are no longer new to me, the position of Country Director and the responsibility that comes with such a position are. With such responsibility comes my wish to do the job well, not just for the organization, not just for me, but for us- a group comprised of individuals with different histories, and clearly different futures, but with the same desire of spending the next year together. Right now, in the present, we have chosen to do this together, encouraging me to do my best.

And in wanting to do my best I often have to tell myself to take one step at a time, to not expect to know everything only six weeks into the game. Under Mark Hand and the 2008/2009 PDs my transition period has been wonderful; I’ve been pushed to learn Manna ways and all its various components in a positive, patient, and gentle manner. It’s in this same way that I hope to guide the new PDs into Spanish, into Ecuador, and into Manna. The more I think about it, the intimacy of my six weeks with the old PDs acts as a reminder that the beauty of the new PD transition period and the year to come does not only lie in inside jokes and adventures, but in the learning together. And that I should not worry about missing out on, because I too have a lot to learn.


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