Keeping is simple and flexible
It is important to be practical when considering whether or not to undertake a secondary activity.
A few of our success stories may seem complex, especially the example of HODEZ. In the case of that particular project, Frank Giarrizzo had both the skills and time to undertake an ambitious activity. Usually, however, you will have both limited time and resources to get your activity underway, and it's important that you don't shortchange your primary job assignment for this activity.
Our sample suggests many ideas that are not so difficult to implement - volunteering your services at a local orphanage, participating in World Wise Schools, or providing lessons in English, music, or whatever other special skills you have that the community needs. Consider one of these before moving ahead with something more involved.
Keeping it simple was very much on the mind of Phil Bob Hellmich as he worked to fulfill his vision on "African baits" for Sierra Leoneans. He began with simple premises, altered them when necessary. Much the same approach was used by Cox and Friedman in Nepal as they put the plans they had developed in the United States into action to train typewriter repairmen to fix braillewriters.
In general, whet seems to work best is to have a straightforward plan in mind and then be flexible and open to modification as you progress.
The most productive undertakings are not necessarily those that follow their original plans. Successful activities are often those that take unexpected turns and have unanticipated outcomes.
In the Dominican Republic, Casey Vanderbeek started out to grow vegetables hydroponically. In the end, he and his boys were growing plants for herbal medicines in response to community demand. Be open to the serendipity of your activity. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Do not expect your activity to be an unqualified success, but hope and plan for the best outcome!
Considering how the HODEZ Project has expanded and its far-reaching effects, no one would doubt Frank Giarrizzo's success. Yet not all the HODEZ businesses have remained profitable, and some farmers' groups have been delinquent in repaying loans. Giarrizzo, however, is still forging ahead with Village Enterprise Zone Associations.
Had Casey Vanderbeek or Susan Willett, or any of our other PCVs given up when they first faced problems, nothing would have been accomplished and nothing would have been learned. Casey Vanderbeek's boys may not be growing vegetables and their nutrition may not have improved, but they did learn something about responsibility and what it takes to run a small business.
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