G.A.L.A. was honored to have a visitor last week who offered a lot of help around the office as well as a remarkably inspirational story to tell. Nicole Haeger offered to share a reflection on her experience with our visitor, which you can read below. Thank you Nicole –
On the night of January 6, the upper floor of the Grange Hall was filled with the laughter and chatter of 17 people; all gathered around a long table which ran the length of the Hall, set with delicious Ethiopian food. G.A.L.A. had a visitor that we were celebrating. Kiflu Arega Tesfaye was visiting from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa after starting a non-profit he called i-Impact Now. By interacting with G.A.L.A and watching how we operate, he hoped to bring techniques and supporters to i-Impact Now. Kiflu was also gleaning information and gaining experience for a senior project about the strategies and struggles of early-stage nonprofit organizations.
After the wonderful dinner that Kiflu had prepared for us, we migrated upstairs where Kiflu gave a power point presentation on what i-ImpactNow was, how they operated and where he hoped the organization would go in the future. Their most recent project was establishing a farmer’s cooperative and an irrigation system in Datu Wereda, Ethiopia. Kiflu’s goal is for i-ImpactNow to affect and improve a variety of social problems around the world. Whether the project is building school houses, forming farmer’s cooperatives, planning irrigation systems or finding a fair trade market for independent furniture builders in Mexico, Kiflu hopes that i-ImpactNow can have a role to play.
The presentation was inspirational, to say the least. After listening to him speak and talk about his experience, his influences, and the troubles he’s had in fostering i-ImpactNow’s growth, I realized that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between Kiflu and me, or anyone else. He had a dream, a plan, and he saw it through. I could do the same. We could do the same. He was an ordinary man, and he’s doing extraordinary things. And that gave me hope.