Goals for my next trip to Guinea-Bissau

One year ago, while preparing for my first trip to Guinea-Bissau as WAVS executive director, there was one word that described how I felt: uncertainty. It had been more than three years since I had been to Guinea-Bissau and I knew only one person there. I was going by myself, I didn’t know the language – and even though I had a few goals in mind, I wasn’t sure how they were going to be accomplished. The trip, thankfully, ended up being successful and rewarding.

Today, I’m packing up for my third trip to Guinea-Bissau in the last 12 months. And now, there is a different word that desribes how I feel: anticipation. The school is as strong as ever thanks to leadership from our energetic new school director, we’re coming off the heels of graduating more than 100 students in January, the Bissau-Guinean staff is thinking of creative new ways to help the community, and we have 146 students learning important skills that will help them get jobs and provide for their families. I can’t wait to go back to Guinea-Bissau to see it all in action.

This trip, I have three main goals in mind:

1) Work with our school director and school board on projects at the school. The school is moving forward with several new ideas, including the possibility of offering new courses and finding creative ways to help the school become self-sustaining. I’m looking forward to working with the school staff and the five-member Guinean school board on these projects.

2) Assess the progress of the WAVS micro-loan program. WAVS is partnering with Seattle-based non-profit Give to Grow to offer micro-loans to small-business owners in the Canchungo community. We issued our first loans earlier this year and I look forward to seeing how they are helping the borrowers.

3) Follow up on new contacts with other non-profits, embassies, and governmental organizations (such as the U.N.) that are working in Canchungo and elsewhere in Guinea-Bissau. There are several European and African NGOs working in Guinea-Bissau and I’ve had the opportunity to talk with staff from some of them about ways we can be working together. I hope to continue those conversations on this trip and connect with a handful of other organizations, as well.

Please be praying for wisdom, patience and endurance during this trip. You can stay up-to-date on my trip by following the WAVS blog, Inside WAVS. In the meantime, you can get the video tour of my living arrangements in Guinea-Bissau.