Learning Journey: I never gave up

Learning Journey: I never gave up

Date: February 7, 2020
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By Fabian Simpaya

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” ―Dale Carnegie

Windhoek, 7 February: I used to consider myself as a socially motivated person who understands other people’s problems without valuing myself more. I sometimes feel like I could carry other people’s problems on my shoulders, like how Jesus decided to carry our burdens so that happiness can be restored to less privileged people. The reason being that I turn to be too sympathetic towards those who are most affected.

My family was worried and criticized me for   leaving my former organisation to join Gender Links (GL), they did not understand my decision. I was however able to convince them and made them understand the circumstances around the move. This affected me so much that I could not sleep well for almost two months after being appointed by Gender Links. I should thank Mme Colleen for giving me hope through her kind words of encouragement on this big step I was taking. Had it not been of her encouragement this journey could not have been possible. I was very frustrated and my frustration affected my health as well, I was as a result of this frustration diagnosed with high blood pressure.

This frustration and my health issue was caused by thinking too hard of whether I had made a good decision by taking up such a challenging move. I decided to stop worrying about everything and put my worries in God’s hands praying that I gain enough strength to manage my work and do it to the best of ability. With time I adopted to the work environment and gained enough strength to cope with my work.

Thanks to Sifisosami Dube who was my immediate supervisor for guiding me and empowering me to the point where I was able to excel in managing GL systems accurately to the desired maximum.  At the beginning, the work load was too much to handle because I only had one intern who happened to be working for another institution at the same time. This situation turned me into a headless chicken, I was forced to run around on my own without any assistance, managing the country office and doing office work all by myself.

This also affected my planning efforts especially when I had to report to GL head quarters on national activities. It was critical for me reduce some burdens on myself in order to carry out my tasks to satisfy my new employer. I decided to hire a second intern and this option worked perfectly for me to manage Namibia office to where it is now.

However, HQ did not approve of this decision I made, I was asked where I got authorization to hire another intern and who will be paying this newly hired intern. I was lost for words but knowing how much I needed help at the office to reduce the work load I told Debra and Sifiso I will pay the intern from my own salary since I do not have another option.

Sifiso played a major role to make me understand GL systems and if it wasn’t for her, I would have left because I was overwhelmed by the amount of work I had to do. I should not forget Bheki Ncube who encouraged me a lot as well when things were tough on my side. He would always say; Fabian get empowered, get empowered brother. This was really an encouragement he pushed me to do better and improve my work ethic. I felt empowered and told myself that I will give up but continue to do my best level. I should say that Gender Links Headquarters was very supportive to me and it wasn’t a good move to give up while the support is availed.

Lately I realised that I did not come to GL for work only but this was another way of advancing my work experience and today I feel that I can manage even major tasks on my own without any supervision rendered because I am highly empowered.

It wasn’t easy for me to take up such a huge challenging task of reviving Gender Links office in Namibia because it required someone with bigger capacity than I had to manage the whole office.

I first learned about Gender Links in 2013, this helped me lot in terms of programming and planning and I have learned that these are crucial elements one needs not to ignore. My first evaluation wasn’t too bad at all but I was encouraged to work harder and try meet the required standard.

In this journey I have learned never to give up in life because what comes easily on your way does not produce fruits but one need to face challenges to experience success. I think my second year with Gender Links will be better and it will be a historical year for me. Planning and fundraising will be my areas of focus in 2020.

Even before I joined Gender Links fully, my life changed both socially and economically during my consultancy contracts and I can see more developments coming my way.

Written by: Fabian Simpaya, Gender Links Namibia Country Coordinator  

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