I love inspiration. It motivates. It energizes. It makes you feel good about life. Admittedly, in this season of quarantine, lockdown, self-isolation, and shelter in place, it can be hard to find inspiration. Today I found it, though, in three people living in White River, South Africa.
Every Thursday morning I have a call with the leadership team at uVillage in White River. The purpose of the call is to connect, empower, and equip. In our sudden departure of South Africa a year ago due to visa denials, it prompted us on a journey to empower a new generation of leaders to lead on the ground. It was uncharted waters for all of us, but one thing we knew for sure was that this arrangement couldn’t look like us giving the directions and the team carrying them out. That wasn’t empowerment. We had to look for ways to let them know we were in this together but let them make the decisions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked the question, “Well, what do you think?” right after stopping myself as I was about to launch into a directive on how to handle the situation.
No one has done everything perfectly, but the process has been beautiful, because we’ve all had tremendous grace for each other, and the team in South Africa have gone above and beyond to honor our investment there. I could go on and on about the team and the process of empowerment (and I plan on writing more in the future), but today I’ll get to why I felt inspired by them.
South Africa has strict lockdown measures in place right now due to coronavirus. Our team has had to shut everything down…the After School Program, all short-term volunteers have stopped for the foreseeable future, and everyone is confined to their homes. In a situation that looks hopeless, they have looked at everything and asked, “What is the best that we can do in this moment, in this situation, with what we have?” And that’s when they started getting permits and putting together food parcels to go deliver food to the kid’s families in the After School Program. Not only will the kids be fed but the whole family. It inspired me that hope is in any situation. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder for it.
Swazi, Lennon, and Rebekah, thanks for inspiring me today.