Whenever I am emailing an applicant about their application, I like to sign the email with “thank you for sharing your vision with us”.
I know many of us have great ideas that we can implement in our communities that will make life easier or spread a little compassion and understanding. Most of us sit on these ideas, a few share them here and there and an even smaller percentage decides to do something about it. This is the small percentage that takes the initiative to submit a grant application. As we all know, the jump between saying and doing is quite large and so I consider a completed application a pretty good accomplishment.
After being in Uganda for less than a week, the “thank you for sharing your vision with us” has taken on a whole new meaning. Most of these applicants do not have access to the Internet from their home. They have to pay to go into a computer lab and apply for an application. In the small village I just came from, the computers are limited and people have to wait hours just to get online. After applying, they have to do the same thing to receive our application decision and if they are funded it requires numerous amount of hours and money to send contracts and receive payment. The Western Union office for one of our grantees is a day away and can only be reached by donkey.
To some people that are living in remote villages all over the world, sharing their vision with us is more than just a check off the ‘to-do list’. We are talking about significant monetary and time commitment to merely tell someone in your non-native tongue, that you have an idea. One of our grantees created an email address solely for the purpose of submitting an application with us because they did not have one before. We are talking about people who are pushing themselves to their edge of what they know or daily routine, only to share their vision with a group of strangers who may or may not understand their idea.
Every village in Uganda speaks English a little differently. In the eastern part, they have a very particular way of expressing themselves always in the present tense. Instead of “we appreciate you” they say “we are appreciating you”. Instead of naming a place they say “there”. “Your Welcome” and “Thank you” are used interchangeably and “well done” is the highest form of praise.
Every time I met someone that knew what TPP was doing their response was: “Please tell them there, that we are appreciating them and well done. Your Welcome. Julie. Thank you so much.”
And my response had never been so true when I said : “Well done, thank you for sharing your vision with us”