Published: June 30th 2012
June 28th 2012
these ladies are taking notes like crazy!
we supplied notebooks, pens, post-it notes, etc. - they loved it because they LOVE to learn!
And I’m back! Today was a day most people dream about……..and in our case, this applies to both ‘sides’ today. The women entrepreneurs were totally amazing – we had no idea how many would show up – how things would unfold – and what the synergy and energy would be like. I can tell you that miracles happen and dreams do come true.
I started the day having breakfast with Kim on the terrace at the hotel – gorgeous morning – beautiful sunrise from my bedroom window. Starting the day off with a great latte and warm chocolate croissants is a blessing – with a view to die for! Then it was time to hop in the van and head over to the church where we would be meeting with the women entrepreneurs of the market (curio shops).
When we arrived, it was overwhelmingly wonderful! There they were – on time – lined up to greet us – looking fabulous – and our meeting was going to be outside, under the trees …….just like in the movies. It was a gorgeous day and we got right to work. Suzanne took the lead, we did introductions,
got to know the women and their businesses – talked about challenges, achievements, what they want to have happen in their business……..but, WAIT A MINUTE! That’s the SAME conversation we, as coaches, have with our own clients in North America. YES – it’s true – no matter where you travel – we are more alike than different! This was validated again today.
We had large group discussions, small breakout sessions, captured ideas on flip chart paper……….and learned so much from each other. It was an amazing experience. Their enthusiasm, passion, commitment and appetite for learning were so refreshing! No excuses here!!!! Causes me to reflect upon our own situation in North America – if only that strong desire, passion, commitment and persistence existed in our own lives and in our own businesses. We could stand to learn a lot from these ladies – who have so little – yet yearn to learn how to improve their situation. We all agreed that when you educate a woman, you educate a village. They asked such great questions! And there were NO excuses when it came time to talk about what could be better…………they just wanted information and guidance.
We took a lunch break – had pizza (ham and pineapple – go figure!) and pop brought in – they loved it. We had a team meeting to discuss what happened in the morning, and what strategy to use for the early afternoon. It was an incredible experience! Life changing for all of us. Time to call it a day – gave them some homework, which was to answer 2 questions: 1) What are you good at? 2) What do you love to do?
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by the ‘Big Tree’ – check out the photo! At the hotel, I stopped into the room of one of my colleagues – I call it the ‘Princess Room”, LOL – gorgeous! We met on the patio to catch up on some notes and ‘test’ a few of the local drinks – YUM-O!!!!
Then it was time to hop in the van for an excursion – we headed out to one of the local villages. That was an eye-opener. VERY different from the villages I had visited in other areas in Africa, particularly the Masai Village.
We met the Owner
of the Village, had a chat with him before touring each of the huts – one of the huts is used as a kitchen, one for where the boys slept, one for the parents, and one is actually a bit of a little shop where they sell goods – we saw the area where the corn is laid to dry in the sun – and then, as well, where meat is hung on a wire to dry in the sun. There was the ‘chicken condo’, LOL – gorgeous flowering trees, goats everywhere……
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at villages along the way – we shared gifts and candies with the children – stopped at one of their ‘local stores’ - that was sad and devastating – the shelves are pretty much bare. These people are living in total poverty. We shared what we had and knew that it made a difference……….the smiles and songs of gratitude were heart-warming.
Then we headed to an area where there were shops – we wanted to look around to get a ‘feel’ for where the women entrepreneurs sell their wares – check out their competition, etc.
so that we could better mentor and advise and teach the following morning when we met with our ladies again at the church.
Then it was time for dinner in the spectacular dining room at the hotel – courtesy of Suzanne and Melonie. So very generous of them to treat us – and it was also wonderful to sit and spend time together to de-brief on the experience with the women this morning. Each of us are going through our own ‘development’, thoughts, emotions, and so much more. This trip is a life-changer! One of the consistent comments from each of us is that, as coaches, we will have very limited tolerance with our own clients when it comes to excuses, whining and limited effort. Seriously, people! We have so very much in North America – these women have very, very little with which to work – no website, no business cards, no support team………many aren’t even living in a home – they live in huts! They walk everywhere……they are supporting numerous family members – many of them have had hardships such as HIV, death of children etc. – and yet, they came to our sessions –
with eyes wide open, minds ready to learn, a serious appetite to improve their situation – and their participation was amazing. It was inspiring! So much food for thought!
And that was our day yesterday! Today (Friday) was also phenomenal and I’ll write that blog post in the morning. It’s well past midnight right now (another very FULL day and so much to share!) – I’m tired – but my heart is full and my mind is racing. I am filled with gratitude and humbled by this whole experience!
Good night, all – Happy Canada Day weekend to my Canadian friends, family and colleagues.
There are more photos below