What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Thursday, February 24, 2011


So progress is not moving forward as I would prefer for it to.  Mostly because of the simple phrase "TIA" (This/That is Africa).  But also, because of the realities of minimal man power and finances.  I have been working of late on a business plan.  But it is slow going.  I have the concepts and the ideology written in all sorts of depth and multiple ways, but I need specifics, and these are tough to come by when you are relying on others and/or yourself to stretch your areas of experience too broadly.  I am not a lawyer, nor do I have the money to pay one (especially before I can take donations/do work), so incorporating is tough.  I need to get this organization registered asap.  For this though. I need help, and I am having trouble finding it. 

The most important thing I keep reminding myself of is that no one truly shares your own passion for the things you're focused on.  Without being able to provide incentives, things become much more difficult with other people.  Even organizations such as GET that are designed to help an organization just like mine don't really seem so interested in having to actually do work.  As a result of all this, a person in my situation has to be able to do everything.  You become the lawyer, the business man, the project designer, the anthropologist, the accountant, the negotiator, and on and on...  Yeah, Ok, Ok, I know, you say: hey that is what starting this type of thing is about.  Doing everything, being everything.  It's been so long since I did business in the US, I feel like I'm starting over!!

The issue I've been having right now though is that there are just some things I can't do without the right information, and I can't get it myself.  Working with Africa is a huge challenge.  In all these meetings I've been having in Newburgh, everyone wants to know why I am not more focused on a specific thing.  I think I am, I want to set up shop in Newburgh to do business in Sierra Leone, and then once I can, do work in Newburgh as well.  I am not tied to a specific 'type' of work - recycling, or vocational training, or whatever - thus am open to any opportunities that can generate revenue and allow for more projects/development. 

In Sierra Leone we have identified several opportunities that could both generate revenue and jobs for local people.  These projects can be far more lucrative than anything we could do in Newburgh right now.  So the company hinges on Sierra Leone.  And up until yesterday, I hadn't heard anything from Yapo (my guy in SL) for well over two weeks.  This is the tricky part of it all.  Not only are you dealing with people that have other things in life that they are/have to do, but you are dealing with the technology and infrastructure of the poorest per capita country in the world.  You can go a whole week there an have NO internet and no one even thinks twice.  Computers are down, the generator runs out of fuel, you pass a place serving palm wine, whatever.  :)  It is a very slow process.

To put together this business plan I have to have any number of things, but costings and estimates for the projects in Sierra Leone are a foundation of it.  This takes time, and doesn't help when I feel the urgency here to incorporate, tie it down, focus it.  Yet, I can't get the information - through no fault of any one person - for weeks at a time.  TIA.  

So what does all this babble mean...??  It means that this is a tough process.  No money, little support, and an unstable personal living situation make things tough.  Splitting time between reviewing girl's lacrosse rules for my spring refereeing job, incorporating in NY, importing solar street lamps into Sierra Leone, volunteer work in Newburgh, social services doing NO part of their Medicaid job, malaria's after affects, life, etc.  But hey, it is the challenges in life that provide us with the opportunity for the successes that we so cherish.  And this is what it is all about, creating this project, and making it successful...  Yes, it would be nice if I had a more stable foundation to do it from, but that just isn't the case, so be it...   

"Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever."
-Lao Zi

No comments:

Post a Comment