“We aren’t about leaving things behind, we are about education. What gets left behind, for sustainability purposes, is whatever we learned in the exchange as people came together.”
It’s been a couple weeks since our return from #MCJourney2016. Our team got together for a post-trip meeting and to hear from the VP of International Programs for Mocha Club and African Leadership. She said over and over again that this organization exists to walk alongside leaders in Africa as they use their knowledge and talents to create sustainable, long-term plans to serve communities they know and love. We as supporters, she said, “are a part of that, but we never drive it.”
This is why I am so excited about the Mocha Club vision. They focus on building collaborative relationships with local leaders in Africa, not just business transactions or one-sided instruction. They avoid making assumptions about what local community members need and want. They recognize that well-intentioned support coming from a limited or biased perspective can be ineffective, even harmful, to those we think we’re serving.
We did little, if any, “service work” on our trip. We were in each county for just a few days, which makes it pretty difficult to know how to serve our brothers and sisters in Huruma or Kibera or Addis Ababa or Nazaret well. They live there, we don’t. They have seen and heard and felt deeply the needs of their community, we haven’t. They know how to meet those needs, we can only guess. But we can listen and learn and then walk together with those leaders who do know best. So that’s what we did.
Written by: Allie Siroky | @aksiroky