Monday, June 17, 2013

Teacher's Plan

That bright orange tarp lays spread in the shade of the unfinished room as the Life in Africa ladies continue gathering for tailoring lessons. Each had a seam ripper in hand and I chuckled as I thought about how the seam ripper is my best friend too. Each visit reveals a greater degree of learning and proficiency, but the last few visits had me start wondering…would they finish learning before the scheduled close of the teaching?

The teacher and I keep close contact and she continued to affirm that everything was on track. I could see that she was teaching them well just based on my own knowledge of sewing best practices, and so I never worried. Yet somehow learning 15 dress patterns rather than moving to the next clothing item dominated their time.

As is not uncommon here, those earning a salary wish to extend that earning potential for as long as possible. So, when they get to a point just before usefulness (just before you could stop and feel like at least the ladies got this far and those skills will be useful) they stretch things out a bit so as to force the sponsor to continue or lose everything. It’s a manipulation I’m quite familiar with and guarded against, but somehow still lost. I learn so much every time we sponsor skills training but still feel that I’ve not yet mastered the best practice and have yet to find anyone else who has.

We met together – the teacher, Charlie, and I – to create a work plan that will bring the teaching to a close by the end of July. The plan included the teacher adding more time and the ladies getting serious about finishing. The ladies, too, want to extend the only highlight of their day…social time with other ladies. Now is the time where I get serious too. It’s time to deliver the business and ministry that will help these women transition from being students to being wage earners. Pray that we would all find that sweet spot God has prepared for us using our skills and talents.