For This, We Are Grateful

We are now back in San Francisco, after an amazing Ghanaian adventure. With emotional good-byes (preferably couched as “see you again…hopefully soon!), we enjoyed a rousing send-off at the Goodbye Celebration at the Stanford SEED Center on Friday night.

Jan’s client, IBK, flew in from Nigeria to honor the event. He brought along these magnificent outfits for us. We felt like Nigerian royalty!

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Ed’s client, Nwamaka, also flew in from Nigeria (to spend Tues – Fri with Ed), so she was on hand to tie Jan’s gele. Who knew that Jan could be so tall!

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Earlier in the day, we asked the clients what they would remember most about the SEED program. Another Nigerian, Richard, waxed poetically:

“It was as if I were paddling in a lake by myself.  Then I came to the first SEED session in July, and I realized there is an entire ocean out there, and it has unlimited possibilities!”

Once Jan heard him say this, she put on her marketing hat, and exclaimed, “We must capture this on video so we can share it with the entire SEED community.”  This was accomplished at the party in the evening.

At this party, our clients reflected on their journey with us and offered profuse thanks.

But we want to thank them!

We have been blessed with an incredibly rich experience that expanded our knowledge base -- from roofing tiles to dry cleaning to new pharmaceutical products to electrical contracting and furniture production – to name a few. We met and worked with many West Africans who have become lifelong friends.  They invited us into their businesses and their lives. We visited their homes, met their children, and attended birthday parties.  But most of all, the clients entrusted us with the proprietary details of their businesses and participated fully in the walk towards transformation.  They were receptive to coaching and took time out of their incredibly busy schedules to meet with us on a regular basis.

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They keep thanking us and talking about our courage. They are the courageous ones and we thank them for offering us this wonderful affirming experience.

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Have the businesses been transformed?  In the five months we spent with them, we can’t claim total transformation. But we can say that we helped them identify the path and take the first steps along that path.  We’ve seen changes in attitude, more financial rigor, a shift towards more expansive marketing and an emphasis on company teamwork and accountability.

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We are grateful to our fellow coaches—Bill, Clinton and Kweku—who lived with us, traveled with us, and shared our journey.  Each coach added his special talents to the program, and we are privileged to count three more incredible friends to our network.

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And, we thank Emmanuel Kitcher, the Director of the SEED Center in Accra, Tralance Addy, the Executive Director of SEED and our friend and fellow GSB grad, Kwabena Amporful. They guided us through the details of life in Accra.

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And we're thankful for our driver, Tony, who expertly navigated the back roads of Accra to get us to our destinations.

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In his Facebook post with a picture of Jan in the party attire, Tony wrote:

“Jan at Goodbye Party”

A friend responded, “I am looking forward to seeing her in California”

Tony responded, “We will not let her go. She now African Woman!”

We are grateful to Stanford SEED, and the enlightened vision of SEED’s benefactors, Bob and Dottie King. We will see them at a Welcome Home party in Palo Alto on Wednesday the 18th and look forward to sharing our thoughts with them in person.  (This picture is from their visit to Ghana in July.)

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We say “thank you” in Twi, Ga and Ewe (three local languages): Me da ase , Oyiwala don, Akpe.

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4 thoughts on “For This, We Are Grateful

  1. Anne Rosales

    Congratulations and welcome home! Thanks for keeping us updated on your adventures. So glad you were able to take part in SEED.

    Reply
  2. Bravo! We are so proud of you. Kudos to you for the "ocean" of possibilities you have created for your clients. I will be toasting all of you tonight and throughout the holidays from Asante Sana in Maine. Enjoy your Welcome Home celebration tonight. I would love to host one of my own, in the city, once you've unpacked. Ed & Jan, again, you knocked it out of the park with your photos and prose. Thank you! What an adventure it has been! The SEED has been planted. The roots are now strong - thanks to your efforts; the roots of the businesses you helped grow and Stanford's Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies.

    Reply
  3. Rick Holbrook

    Congratulations on fantastic trip! Thank you for sharing it with us through this wonderful blog. What an amazing experience and a chance to give great service!

    Reply

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