But what if someone who had never been to Nashville was stuck in the same traffic? They might reasonably assume there was an accident, a parade, or another impediment to normal traffic flow. If they determined the problem was a slow light, even if they were a stoplight technician, they still couldn’t know as well as I could how long the traffic would last. That's the thing; in that case, my familiarity trumped any level of broader expertise. Take me off that route though, and I bring very little to a traffic light discussion.
That distinction between expertise and familiarity is an important one for us in Guatemala. While not experts in development or education, we offer a skill-set and knowledge base not commonly available where we work. That’s an asset we bring to the table, yet it does little to make up for our lack of familiarity.
More importantly, that’s why we emphasize working alongside partner organizations. Our effectiveness depends on working alongside locals familiar with the community. No matter how important malnutrition or economic development are, if we can’t find a partner to help us implement our ideas, then our work is better spent in areas where we know local actors can direct and benefit from our cooperation. For us, collaborative development is the best way we know to help expand opportunity.
Glad to be Back,
Hud and the Manna Team