the Wonderful World of Third-World Nonprofits

Big brown eyes. Beautiful white smiles. Laughter. Fun programs. Great photos. Awesome impact stats. Adventurous volunteer opportunities. Yes, these are all beautiful parts of third-world nonprofits. But what if we told you that there is so much more? That development is more than difficult but more than worth it?

As an organization we want to show you life in Zambia, the joys, the triumphs, the hardships, but also the truth. We want to be a transparent organization, honest about our struggles and the first to admit that we don’t always have the right answer or the perfect solution. We just walk one step in front of the next in this crazy world of nonprofit development.

Today is a perfect glimpse into the other facets of third-world nonprofits, facets that complete the beautifully messy thing that it is. Facets that without them, would make the puzzle incomplete. If we framed our organization to be all of the beginning characteristics, we would be cheating you all of the honest reality of our organization and of lifestyles in this sector.

The media (and actual nonprofit organizations- we’re guilty, too) often portrays nonprofits to be daring, adventurous, exciting, full of fun, huge impacts, and personal growth, even glamorous at times. We will agree with all of that, but we believe there is so, so much more. And we’d love to show you.

If every day were fun and fluffy, how would we grow? If every day were easy, how would we learn to endure? If every day was all smiles, how would we appreciate the beautifully joyful days? If every day were full of triumph, how would we recognize the miracles?

Today. Today was a day with a big agenda. Three offices, three stamps, three payments to settle up three pretty important components of our legitimacy and growth during this season of transition. We concluded the day this afternoon, still with three things seeking completion. In better words, nothing got accomplished. Running along the track with finish line in sight, we encountered hurdles that weren’t even on our horizon. We don’t have really cool stories or fun Instagram graphics from today (if we did take a photo of today, you’d probably stop following us all together #boring). We do, however, have a drained gas tank, more blank forms to be filled out, and two tired volunteers who only keep at this from passion and belief in the heart of the organization. We have another day of tested patience. Another instance where we must choose hope, not because it’s easy or fun or glamorous, but because it’s worth it. And because development is what changes lives and communities.

So with days filled with emails, errands, frustrating office visits with inefficient systems and one-too-many confusions, we endure. Because we know there are days to come filled with that laughter, those beautiful white smiles, fun programs, and awesome impact stats of just how people’s lives have been changed and communities benefitted. Maybe that’s one year away, maybe twenty, but no matter what we’re all in. Because we believe in development and hope, and our hearts are forever changed by the stories of eleven incredible women.