Thursday, February 17, 2011

introducing the bossladies...

I would now like to introduce you to two amazing, funny, hard working, passionate, big hearted, motorbike riding, jungle treking, sleep in the tent in the rain, Lord love'n women who manage SP Liberia's WASH and CLP programs.  From WASH we have the one and only-straight from Saska-bush, I mean Saskatchewan,  Taya Raine!  Or as we call her Tay-tay.  CLP is repersented from the Ms. John Deere of 2001 from Ireton Iowa, Ms. Joni Byker-or Jo, jo-jo, jones, byker, bykes...
here is a little photo of us in action...

Let's start with WASH program manager Tay-tay.  Tay come to us in 2008, after yours truly resigned as the WASH PM to become the regional water peep, and has been with us ever since.  Taya is one of the hardest/strongest workers I know-seriously, this prairie girl has walked for days through jungle trails from village to village to make sure that the WASH needs of people are being met.  I had a little talk with Tay-tay today let's get to know her:
Bev:  "Tay-tay what is your favorite part of your job?"
Tay-tay: "I work with great staff! I also love it when a community is engaged and recognizes their WASH needs.  It is exhilarating working with a community that helps with a project!  I also love riding motorbike to our projects"
Bev: "What are some of the challenges of your work?"
Tay-tay: "Getting people to make behavioral changes towards WASH-like using the latrine all the time or washing your hands-it takes a lot of education and time.

We will be hearing more from Tay-tay in the future-this is just our introduction for now.  Taya also likes to snack on green olives, capers, Sajj chicken pizza and Bev's cake.

Joni, like Tay, came to join the SP Liberia team in March of 2008.  However, she was no stranger to West Africa, after spending nearly 2 years with SIM serving as their photojournalist (Jo is also a professional photographer and our communications manager-she's busy) in Ghana, Liberia (where she met me) and Niger.  Jo is a farm girl from Iowa-and is also an incredible hard worker-she is inundated with work request and she always serves with a smile!  Here is my little chat with jo-jo:

Bev: "Jo, what is your favorite part of your job?"
Joni:  " Seeing women's self-esteem totally change just from what they are learning-like the simplest thing like writing their name for the first time.  I also like to get out for a ride on the motorbike whenever I can!"
Bev:  "What is the greatest challenge to you in your work?"
Joni:"  The need for literacy is so great in Liberia, and we can only do so much with the resources we have"
We will be hearing more from Joni too as she shares with us inspirational stories of women who are attending the CLP classes.  Joni likes to eat mashed potatoes, CORN, nacho's and really anything I make for her!

Here is a picture of Joni helping one of the CLP beginners student with printing letter.  Most of the ladies in the beginners class don't even know how to hold a pencil properly.

Tay and Jo are some of the best program managers I have worked with in my time with SP.  They are so committed to their work and the people of Liberia-it is a privilege to run for their programs!  They are great friends and co-workers that are doing amazing work!!!  They will be mentioned in future blog entries along with some of the people they are helping.

That's it for now...I hope you are inspired by these two programs and their managers-give a holla out to Tay-tay and Jo!!!! is hot. Really hot.  Pray that I don't melt or get sunstroke!

1 comment:

  1. :) Miss you guys! :) Everybody believe what Bev says about these ladies - it's all true! Now what I would love to have seen is for you guys to try to sit down and have an "official" interview... complete with lots of laughter!