Friday, July 3, 2015

Bathtub

6/17/15

I don't feel like I have anything to write about. 

We have done so incredibly much in the past two weeks, I'm a bit stumped as to why I'm at a loss for words. I've gone back to Dikgale, I've gone on a trek through the South African hills, I've developed and pitched a project plan to the Lonely Road Team from the ground up, I've learned how to snowboard, I've driven on the left side of the road, I've learned an incredible amount about South African institutions, and I've taken a lot of time for reflection. 

And yet I still can't think of a theme for this post. 

It's crazy to think about how your brain can seemingly fill up. Almost like if it were a bathtub that is constantly being filled to the point of spilling over. I feel like that. It's overwhelming and kinda hard to sort out. It is hard to decide whether to focus on turning off the tap, or opening the drain. 

However, at the same time, I am full with joy. I am headed back to Dikgale tomorrow for my third visit, this time to pilot a consignment system for the Lonely Road to facilitate the sale of second hand clothing by women in the Dikgale community. Despite experience with the model firsthand, as well as a decent load of research that I have done to prepare, I'm a little nervous. I don't think I expected an "okay" from the Lonely Road's founder when I pitched the pilot run to him this morning. The cool part though, is that my excitement, as well as the excitement coming from Dikgale, is overpowering the nerves.

Of the Lonely Road's 16 drop in centers in Dikgale, two of them will be participating in my pilot. We will give them a set amount of inventory of donated second hand clothing on consignment for three weeks. At the end, we'll come back and collect R10/item (roughly 1USD) as payment, and the women will keep the profits for their centres so that they can buy food and other supplies necessary for the centre to provide care to kids. 

It has been an incredible experience to be able to tie the work I did last summer with the Social Entrepreneur Corps in Ecuador to my work this summer with Emzingo and the Lonely Road in South Africa. There are beautiful similarities between the rural communities in each country, and being able to see the efficacy of the tools I learned working with the MicroConsignment Model last summer got me really excited. 

As the halfway point of this trip approaches, I'm proud to say I want to work in the development space long-term. Last summer was an awesome taste, and after this first month in SA, I have an incredible peace that this is where my heart is. 

More updates on the impacts of the consignment system to come!



Tori

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