Against All Odds
It’s that time of year again. The time where we all complain about time flying and wonder where the year has gone. And so it seems fitting to take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey that the enke team managed to fit into twelve short months.
There are some obvious highlights: our largest forum ever (146 delegates!), a line up of incredible speakers and supporters throwing their efforts into the programs (if you think this is you, it probably is – so thank you!) as well as more incredible projects being run by inspiring young South Africans across the country than we’ve seen any other year.
That said, I think this year for me has been more about the little things.
- Our first end-of-year team picnic. First, because it’s the first year we’ve had a “team”. Playing 30 seconds (very competitively) and seeing the article on enke in Entrepreneur mag for the first time!
- Exit interviews with Rue and Lebo, two of the amazing interns who worked with us this year, and hearing about the personal and professional growth they experienced while working with enke.
- Talking with 2010 delegate, Meghan, about the challenges she’s faced in the past 6 months as she’s run the amazing Ilizwi Photo Club. Sure, she won the Amy Biehl Spirit of Youth Award and ran an awesome exhibition at the V&A Waterfront, but hearing about the challenges has been both humbling and inspiring.
- Discovering a wealth of information from our delegates about the common challenges, and rewards, faced by young people who make the bold step of taking action.
- Catching up with a trio of enke delegates who were battling with the overwhelming injustice of the famine in Somalia and eavesdropping as they came up with the idea of the Power of One Movement.
- Phoning the seed funding winners and hearing their joy and disbelief as they realised that someone takes their vision seriously enough to give them real money to change their community.
- Hearing enke delegates and alumni on the radio talking about the South Africa they want to see. And realising that people are listening.
Of course, there have been tough spots. Starting the year with no staff. The financial concerns of any new organisation. The logistical nightmares of running a national program. The pressure of delivering an experience that will really, truly impact the lives of everyone who comes into contact with enke. I won’t lie, there have been moments where I’ve felt nothing but huge pressure.
But at the end of the day it’s the little moments that make it all worth it.
As I write this, one of the most intense summer storms I’ve seen this season is exploding over Johannesburg and I’m reminded of the reason I love this city, and this country. You see, I always think that South Africa (and Jozi in particular) are like the veld thunderstorms: the energy builds and builds until it explodes, spectacularly, and while that energy can either cause beauty or destruction, it’s always exciting. To quote Joburg journalist, Rian Malan: “there is something you don’t understand: where you are is boring”.
Suggested soundtrack for this blog post: aKing – Against All Odds – http://youtu.be/RuNBpffr87M
(this is the song we play at enke HQ whenever we get good news)