And help she did. Our tiny taskmaster took charge like a boss and whereas my kvetching at our, primarily well-meaning and generally effective, teaching staff, fell on deaf ears, her exercises in leadership intervention and our new catchphrase of "team-building through communication and trust" turned a mini mutiny into calm seas.
After all, we cannot help the kids we are meant to if our team is broken and the teachers are not invested. How then, to get them invested and to recognize that working for Toa is not about making this mzungu happy, but rather about creating a professional persona for each of these young ladies where one did not exist before.
It's a new thought for sure, and perhaps I took for granted that they saw it all along. It may have been just about a paycheck for them in the past, which is totally fine, but I wanted them to see that by showing up late or leaving early, not coming at all or coming and then not being active, the person they are letting down is not ME.
Rather, walimu wetu, it is your students who are counting on learning their lessons, it is your colleagues with whom you share the workload, and it is you yourself, who deserves, and can achieve, more than a paltry monthly stipend and the confines of a rural shamba.
In the spirit of this past week's International Women's Day, let's be bold, let's be the change!
In the videos and diagram below, we all tried an exercise to figure out what kinds of leaders we are: flexible, people-pleaser types; opinionated stand-takers; unemotional analysts; or impassioned forces of nature. Check it out!!