View from the hotel rooftop restaurant
I went to the American embassy yesterday. The British embassy and the European Union offices today. My driver picks me up from one meeting, transports me to the next, then at the end of the day, takes me back to the hotel to sit in the hotel restaurant where all the staff know my name and then I check my emails. It all sounds very glamorous.
Meeting with all these contacts is not about the glamour, but about the relationships. It is about building trust with people who will come to know and respect the organisation I work for, who will want to know more about our mission, our vision, our mandate and the people we reach through our projects.
It is in these meetings that I am constantly reminded of the value and dignity of human beings. Not only in describing the desperate need for humanitarian intervention here in the DRC where not every family will eat a daily meal today, but also in the humanity of these donors.
The people I met were not so divorced from the reality of the country as I first thought. We discussed the complex issues of governance and corruption, the value of investing in education and in promising young graduate students, and the positive changes we have seen as a result of working through local faith-based organisations.
To see one stern face soften as he talked about his volunteer work, to see another light up as we shared the outcomes of a recent evaluation, and yet another passionately describe the reality of the situation in Eastern DRC they had seen on a recent visit. All this made these visits come alive and reminded me of what a privilege it is to work in this sector; to engage with such highly motivated individuals and to enjoy the honour of sharing my work with them.
I continue in the hope and expectation that these people I have met will use their positions of influence to bring about positive outcomes for the people of DRC.
It’s not all about the glamour. It’s about the people.