About 4 or 5 years ago, in a coffee shop in Southsea, Simon Paylor and myself dreamt about being able to bring together all the CRED Partners in one place, so that they could share with each other, inspire each other, learn from each other, and build network and relationships.
Since that day, there have been many changes within CRED – Simon has moved on to pastures new, the team trips are being run by Adventure Lifesigns, and we have gained some new partners. But the dream remained, and yesterday I had the absolute joy of standing at Entebbe Airport in Uganda welcoming the CRED Partners who run projects in Africa, as well as some of the CRED trustees, to this wonderful country. We represent 8 nations: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia and UK, and it is wonderful to all be together
As the only person who had met every person involved in the ‘CRED Talks’ conference, it has been a really wonderful time introducing folks to each other, and hearing the hum as people chat, discuss, laugh and learn together.
The start was not without its hitches, due mainly to delayed planes and yellow-fever certificate related incidents; but we are now all here, gathered together at John and Sophie’s, and the conversation is flowing beautifully.
Today we went out to a project that John Njendahayo has developed at Maya, about 30km outside Kampala – so we had the joy of sitting together in rural Uganda, hearing from each other as we shared our stories and our passions for why we do what we do. John gave a tour of the buildings, and introduced thinking relating to rainwater harvesting, solar energy, biogas and tube homes, as examples of how to be good stewards of this earth at the same time as reducing poverty at a grassroots level.
In the evening Etenesh from Berhan Lehetsanat in Ethiopia shared about a gender equality conference she went on; and on Wednesday Francis, also from Uganda, will input about the work I Live Again Uganda are doing in Acholi Quarters and northern Uganda.
Beyond that – well according to the schedule it will include Whole Brain Approach to Teaching and Learning, and also workshops on personal wellbeing and volunteer support. But hey, this is Africa, and with such an incredible gathering of experience and knowledge, who knows what we will actually end up discussing and consdering!
What I do know is that this is one amazing week, and I feel incredibly honoured and privileged to be part of it; and to enable all these folk, who I am proud to call my friends, to come together in this way: to bless and be blessed, to inspire and be inspired, to promote dreams of new ways forward, and just to have space to be refreshed, refueled and reaffirmed in all that they are doing, through making a difference to so many on this continent, each in their own way.