I am thankful that the Our Father’s House brick business has given a job to five youth who have a bleak future due to missing out on their education. Our plan, though, is for these youth to supervise and make the everyday decisions of the project, not just to work for it, and this transition will be made by September 1st. This is a long way for these youth to go, so I was delighted by a certain conversation that we had back in March when I was meeting with Mwita (a volunteer who has worked with these youth for years) and Kagose (a professional builder who works with the project).

Davis: So, what if two youth worked each day, as in Sam and Marwa one day, Josef and Yusufu one day, until we finish the last 200 bricks?

Mwita: Aaahhh, yes, that is a good idea. We’ll pay 10,000/day, and we’ll be able to finish the 200 bricks with the last 30,000.

Kagose: Yes, this is a good idea, but one thing; two youth can make 80 bricks in a day if Yusufu is there, but if he isn’t there, it will be difficult.

Davis: Oh, so Yusufu has more strength?

Kagose: Well, he does have more strength, but the main reason they can make more bricks when he is there is because he takes the work more seriously and gets them to stop playing around so much.

Davis: Oh. Well that’s really good news.

Kagose: Yeah, I think what we could do is to have Yusufu and Sam one day, Yusufu and Marwa the next day, and then Yusufu and Josef the third day. That way, we’ll finish the last 200 bricks. They’ll only need to make 40 bricks on the third day.

This plan worked as Kagose predicted, so I suggested that Yusufu take over as site supervisor starting April 1st. Kagose agreed that he should be able to do this, so we asked Yusufu if we could have a quick meeting with him.

As all four of the project leaders pulled up chairs to talk to him, Yusufu tried to look cool as always, but it was clear that he was nervous.

“Yusufu”, I began, “Kagose told me that you put your heart into your work, more than the other youth. When you work hard like this, the other youth also work harder. Kagose also said you get them to take the work seriously. We intend for this project to be in the youth’s hands, so we are going to be giving all of you responsibility little by little. Do you think you will be able to start doing the work of site supervisor on April 1st? Since this is a increase in your responsibility, we will increase your pay. I know this is a lot of responsibility, so how do you see all this?”

Yusufu softly, but confidently, replied, “Naweza” (I am able), and smiled.

This is Yusufu. They have a long way to go, but we are happy to see the youth taking ownership of their project.

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