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A Brief Stay in Lusaka

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Hi again, everyone! I’m blogging from an internet cafe in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. After a relatively short journey by car (Ba Rodgers is a notoriously fast driver 🙂 ), I arrived yesterday in time to begin discussions with Charles and Sandie on the progress that has been made on the poultry farm. It was exciting to see stacks of bricks and wide swaths of cleared land where the chicken house will go. I got a brief tour of the land before heading into Sandie’s home, which is adjacent to the poultry farm property, to dig a bit deeper in to the details of the farm’s budget and accounting. By the end of the discussion, I felt great that we had a solid and (to borrow a consulting phrase) MECI (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive) list of expense and income categories for the farm. With the many uncertainties that come with starting a business of any kind in any part of the world, there is something really satisfying about the clarity and cleanliness of a well-planned accounting system. My mother, an accountant, will no doubt get lots of joy out of my saying that! 🙂

Sandie’s wife, Barbara, made a delicious meal for us for dinner, and with a full stomach, I headed back to my room at a nearby lodge where I had developed an uneasy friendship with three spiders that have chosen to cohabit my room. Perhaps it was the nervousness and excitement of my impending final day in Zambia (or perhaps it was the drunken twenty-somethings next door listening to some classic 90s rap), but my morning started at 4AM and I got a chance to read and prepare for more discussions. (In just a few hours yesterday I finished Alain de Botton’s A Week at the Airport, which I highly recommend to anyone who spends any time in airports.) 🙂

Charles, Sandie and I had breakfast in Sandie’s home before restarting our discussions on the farm’s accounting. I was able to steal an hour of time from Sandie’s daughter, a trained accountant, who will be helping to manage the farm finances. She immediately caught on to the system I was recommending, and I left our conversation/training incredibly confident in the farm finances given they were in such capable hands.

A quick lunch at Sandie’s and I said my goodbyes to the incredibly hospitable and talented Khondolo family before heading here to the internet cafe. I’ll be spending the afternoon at a local crafts market to purchase some items for Spark and have a look around before retiring to the room and my three eight-legged friends.

I have been incredibly happy and satisfied with the progress that has been made during the last three weeks (and in the months since my last trip here). The face-to-face time that I’ve gotten here with the staff in the office, school, orphanage and farm has been so valuable not only to getting more work done but also to deepening the relationships with the incredible people who run Hope. I feel very lucky to have spent the last 20 days with a group of talented people committed to building the future of their country through its children, and I am already looking forward to the Partnership Trip in July.

I’m sure that I’ll be back online once I’m in Heathrow, so I’ll share a bit about my travels when I can. Wish me luck in my final day and in my three flights home to Chicago!

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