I just returned from two weeks in Rwanda working with the Indego team there. You might wonder just exactly what social enterprise on-the-ground job responsbilities actually entail. I guess the key word is "flexibility". Just some examples of a few of the actual jobs I helped out on:
1. Figuring out how to unblock a cell phone and install a local Rwanda SIM card so you can make and receive phone calls without incurring staggering costs.
2. Positioning my self as as to be able to stand in a tiny shower stall with no shower curtain and not completely flood your hotel room. (I must admit to a distinct lack of success in learning this technique. Just ask my roommate, Matt)
3. Inquiring about the life and problems of a nervous and agitated landlord for one of our coops (through a translator), and seeking a way to negotiate a settlement with her.
4. Climbing the stairs at the Ministry of Commerce to help them locate an Indego application that was temporarily misplaced during an office move.
5. Spending four hours at a bank and negotiating out of having to pay a huge fee to close an account that was never able to successfully function in the first place. All was amicably resolved and I made some new friends at the bank along the way.
6. Helping select cloth (bears or balloons?) for kids' pajamas, critiquing hemming techniques, figuring out how many centimeters in a yard of fabric, learning how to install a "grommet", and trying to explain to our coop members precisely what a yoga mat is used for (our new yoga bag looks terrific - now if I could only learn how to stand on my head in order to be able to use it).
7. Learning a lesson from the example of the officers and members of COCOKI on how to work together to resolve issues and arrive at innovative and wise decisions on location, developing the sewing skills of new members, and sharing new work. If I could only figure out how they are able to do it.
8. Explaining with some trepidation how things work in Rwanda to a group of first-time-in-Africa Indego volunteers, fully expecting them to recoil in shock and surprise; then discovering that they quickly and easily figured it out and fell in love with kids on the street and the women in the coops. Just another case of people relating to people irrespective of their backgrounds and experiences. Absolutely none of it due to anything that I said or did. The people of Rwanda made it all so easy.