It was my baptism into the fascinating world that has occupied the last 4 years of my life. Working with hands-on, do-it-yourself technology for the developing world. Travelling to Armenia, Croatia, Rural Massachussets, Namibia, South Africa, India, Italy, California, Geneva, Brazil, Rural Denmark, Tunisia, all with the triple mission to teach, to learn and to have fun, has made me more, and better friends than I could have ever imagined. It’s been the most incredible journey, one that I would do over in an instant, and will never forget.
It’s not over, but it is changing. I feel a subtle change in me, especially when i’m on the road. More and more, the time away feels like time away from my life. As if, at home, was my stable base, my girlfriend, my sports, my family, my home, and as if being on the road means being away from all that. I still have fun, but not quite as much as I used to. I still have most of my best friends spread all over the planet, but I feel more of a need for an intimacy that is not available in those relationsships.
But most importantly, I feel this i a turning point for me as a volunteer/development worker/non-profit organisation. A time to decide.
To continue as an individual, a proffessional volunteer, a travelling consultant, means to continue a life with little stability, no stable income, no stable work base, no stable flow. The alternative, to proffesionalize myself, to become a stable organisation, with employees, and grant-proposal-writers, and a vision and business plan.
And I’m increasingly realizing that that is not what i want to be.
I am in this ‘business’ because i love what i do, but also because i believe in what i do. and for me to believe, i need to have the freedom to let the project come first, and the financing second, and that is not something that the development industry does well.
Funding is institutionalized to a degree where I’ve come to believe that to run a stable organisation it is aqlmost imperative that you let funding come first, that funding, as a goal, becomes the primary goal. I want my projects to be first,k second and third, and to consider funding at a distant fourth. It is necessary for me to have it be like that. I need to believe in what i do, and being a born sceptic there are very few compromises needed before i lose that faith.
I see 2 options and a strict deadline:
- I get a job. And interesting job in open source preferably, but a job. Probably one that is based here in Copenhegan, and requires a little less travelling than has been my default for the past 3 years. Ideally a job that has a 4-day work-week, or a 4 week pr. year travel allowance for volunteer jobs, or somehow let’s me keep in touch with all the wonderful people and projects I have had the extremem good fortune to encounter.
- I/we/it merge with another organisation. One that thinks our work, and our existing projects are interesting enough that they will let us do these and others with as little interference as possible. One that sees in what we do, and in our extensive contacts an opportunity big enough that it’s worth taking on the administrative overhead, the grant-proposal-writing, and the budget reporting, and let us get on with our unique skills, understanding and describing technology from that unique developing world perspective.
Let me know what you think…..