Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Master Plan...

I love to plan- I love putting plans together and watching them unfold-and for the most part they unfold how I planned them! I have my lists, spreadsheets, calendar and more lists for everything from teams that visit, the projects I oversee, my training to the boys' school work.  I have a small small panic attack if I am unprepared and have not had the chance to plan properly.  I even plan for the times I could be caught off guard...so that I am not caught off guard!  I know, a little over the top considering I live in a constant state of organized chaos! 

For our projects it is a MUST to have a plan in place.  We use special names for them like "logical framework"  with a list of 'activities', 'outputs', 'outcomes' and 'impacts'- special headings for -what is your goal-how are you going to do it-how much can you do-how will it help-and how are you going to measure it all.  I must admit-I am not a lover of the logical framework-however, I do like putting the activity plan together! 

Our CMP/HOPE program is no exception when it comes to a plan.  We can not expect communities to participate in training if they have no idea what they are being trained for or why!  However, after the training takes place the community takes over the planning process.  We often hear leaders say "We PLAN on fixing this stretch of road" or "We PLAN on doing our own latrines".  The community understands that planning is hard work-they have to mobilize their community to do the work that is needed and they have to pool their resources. They PLAN on what technical help they may need from SP-so we can then PLAN our work schedule. 

There is nothing more rewarding than when a PLAN comes together.  Wasn't the 80's t.v. show the "A-team"-that coined the phrase "I love it when a plan comes together!"  I feel the same way-an example of this was the recent spring protection CMP/HOPE project that Taya undertook with her WASH team, CMP staff and the community of Koindu-Pombor.  I have mentioned this spring before - but what you may not know is the incredible amount of time that went into planning this project.  The planning started in Jan. (maybe earlier?) with emails going back and forth between Taya and a water engineer in the UK who has assisted us in the past with technical advice.  I can't even begin to explain how long these emails were-with attachments of drawings and lots questions and answers.  Taya and her staff would take the information and go to the spring site and look, analyze, predict, question and discuss for hours-without picking up a shovel or moving one spec of dirt!  Just planning-this went on for a long time!  When the community was ready and so was Taya and her staff-they committed and started. It wasn't easy and for a full month from dawn til' dusk her team worked to get the spring done-coming everyday to the site with a PLAN for that day.  And after all that planning, preparation and prayers the spring was completed!

The end result...of a good plan!

Now, let's be honest.  Not all of our plans work perfectly.  Taya would have loved to have this spring done months ago-and there are many stories where our plans have gone awry. Many of the taxi's here in Liberia have a saying on the back of their yellow cars that reads: "God's timing is best".  It is a simple statement-and a true one-but one that I often forget as I plow through my "master plans" for all my little and big events-instead of having faith that the 'Master's plan is perfect'-it may not be mine-and I may be frustrated that it is not mine-but in the end it is always perfect.

As I head into the final days before the marathon-I am in planning high gear!  As some of you may know some of the SP Liberia 'women' are also coming-some to do fulfill some work duties at our SP UK office-but all of them to cheer me on at the marathon!  I am so 'chuffed' (as they would say in the UK!) that they are coming-and I am planning our time together with maps of the Marathon route, what hotel we are staying at and even what meals we can feast on! 

 One of the sections of the marathon-the girls will be standing near mile 13 and 22!! Hopefully...

Last year I had a great plan of running under 4:30min.  We all know that did not happen!  I had no plan in place once the pain of injury hit at mile 16-except try and not get sick in front of thousands of people!  This year I plan on running for 9 min. and walking for 1min.  I have been training with this formula and my times have been good.  I am planning on taking a vanilla GU packet every 4 miles to keep my energy up - as I try to postpone the 'hitting the wall' episode that every runner experiences.  I am also planning on being 'present' - not worrying about how many miles I have left but enjoying the one that I am running at that moment.  Even the SP cheerleaders have a plan!  They will be stationed at mile 6-7 , mile 13 and 22 -and hopefully I will be able to find them!  They will also be at the finish-I know it will be a huge lift to me seeing their friendly faces as I run.

I know that something will happen over those 26.2 miles that I have not planned for-I am not sure what it is-but I am prepared and I have faith that God knows-all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other.

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