IN LOCO FELLOWS’ BLOG SERIES #4: Getting The Right Tan
May 5 was my birthday and I was turning 28. I always thought by now I would have all the money I could ever want, a house in the country with horses, a tall, dark and handsome husband and kids and I would call that success. But on my 28th this is what I have learnt. Seeing those smiles of the children who were celebrating with me was more than a smile of a husband and a few kids could ever bring. The love I received was more than any conditional love I would get from my own family because I would be theirs. But these children give without expecting me to belong to one or all of them. That my friend is the success I am willing to invest in and keep.
My name is Mammatli Molefi and I received my bachelor’s degree in social work from National University of Lesotho in 2013. I never thought I would ever be involved in designing a building or even digging foundations as we’ve been doing this month. But I have come to realize that every profession or business needs a social worker. Architects are creatives but in order for that creativity to be meaningful, measurable and impactful, there should be a link between them and the society for whom they are designing. As experts in our fields we always assume we know what is best for the people we work for but that is not always the case. We may create something beautiful, unique, and innovative but if it is not functional or doesn’t benefit the people we have created it for then that would be a terrible loss and a waste of time.
in loco isn’t a traditional kind of project. It is diverse and goal driven. The first month of this project was about getting to know our clients, their environment, their hopes and dreams and hopefully make them come true instead of imposing our own dreams on them. It was a great and touching experience especially when the smallest child in my group drew a very simple house with a small baby sleeping in front of it. It was beautiful!
The sleeping, playing and eating spaces were derived from all the information we receive. What I have realized with architecture is that, money doesn’t do the talking but the mind does all the walking, through exploring locally available materials, recycling and coming up with something less costly yet worth millions in value and impact to the people it is done for. I can’t wait for September when the project will be done and I will be proud to have brought the youth at God’s Love Centre’s dream to reality, changed lives and set the future in motion.
This month we have also been doing market research for our businesses, on the entrepreneurial side. Since we got certified as business facilitators to offer simplified business skills to women and youth with low literacy in February, we have been facilitating the business sessions with the GLC women and youth. The program doesn’t end here as we are going to continue monitoring their progress until their businesses are successful enough for them to move to the next level. We believe that starting small is a way to get to where one wants to be in wealth rather than waiting for when one is financially fit, which may never come if one doesn’t start with what they have. Which sometimes can just be “themselves” because the best capital one has is their brains.
We have also been strengthening the orphanage’s governance capacity through weekly leadership trainings. The goal of these sessions is to make sure that the facility complies with the Ministry of Social Development’s guidelines, is well structured and is able to sustain itself through fundraising. The most interesting activity was when we were building cardboard boxcars. The activity was meant to show that everybody has some bone of creativity in them and innovation they can create products that can generate them income and change their predicament.
The Lesotho Red Cross Society also sponsored us for first aid training. Seven GLC staff members and four in loco Fellows attended the training. Shout out to Mr Moeketsi Lethoko from Lesotho Red Cross for being so patient with us.
May is gone now and I believe took some of my muscles with it. No, I mean I gained some since the construction started!