I often hear parents say that the single most rewarding thing in their life is to see their child succeed. They say it brings them joy in a way they have never experienced before. The joy only increases once that child leaves their parent’s nest and thrives on his or her own. I think the reason this experience is so rewarding for parents is that they tangibly see the fruit of their efforts. After pouring into their child in uncountable ways, often without thanks or reciprocation, they see their efforts in the flesh. And to see their children impact others lives… is sweeter still.
I am feeling what I imagine to be a very similar feeling at this moment. I am in Mogadishu, Somalia this morning, writing to you from the rooftop of our compound, watching the sunrise. Yesterday we did a tour of our 4 WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) projects here in Mogadishu. Our Somali team led our group through the tour sharing with us the successes and challenges of each project. What I saw yesterday is what I deem to be one of the most vital characteristics of any successful organization in any sector: Learning. Since day one of Arc Solutions I have preached over and over that we aren’t about producing perfect products, we are about producing versions of a better product with each learning cycle. Perfection is not success… improvement is. We can only produce the best of what we know at any given moment in time, and with everything we do we aim to learn. We learn what works and and what doesn’t work and once we learn we improve. I saw this embodied in the output of our work yesterday. Each project we implemented was improved on, one after the other. I knew this to be the case due to the reports I receive regularly, but to see it in person was all the more sweeter. And this is what brought me such joy. It is a joy to see learning embodied in our Somali team. To see how they analyze each project, learn from mistakes, and improve upon them. Their is no condemnation for mistakes, instead there is celebration in learning. Failure is only ceasing to try. And what an appropriate thing for this country, this people, Somalia. Written off as failed, yet rising from the rubble (literally). To see the transformation of this place… construction in every direction you look, business re-surfacing across the sectors, and Somali refugees returning in droves to invest in their homeland.
I am proud of our projects. I am proud of our project partners. I am proud of our Somali team. I am proud of Somalia. And I am incredibly rewarded to witness it all.