Living and working in Africa is not dissimilar to being a door-to-door sales-person. You feel at times as if you are knocking on door after door and there is the this eerie silence from behind the door in one house, a wild dog at another, the man who answers the door with a hatchet in his hand, the person who opens the door and consumes your time endlessly just to have somebody to chat to, and then, out of the blue you walk down the garden path of some little cottage to be met by somebody who opens their arms, welcomes you in and sees the value of what you have to offer, and you are so grateful for that person, for that moment and so you are ready to take some more of the ‘knock and block’ days. As was once said to me, a long time ago when I actually did sell door to door, it is a numbers game. If you give up after one thousand doors, you have not knocked on enough, it is simply a matter of the number of attempts you make to bring it to fruition… Come to think of it there are few helpful phrases from those long ago days when I canvassed for double glazing and sold advertising in brochures for real estate…. Yes, I did.
Never say die, the next one will buy: This applies to the rounds we need to make to get the objectives of our mission to be ‘bought-into’ by the powers that be, and the villages that somehow manage not to want to help themselves…and the potential donors and partners…
Make a friend, make a sale: When we make friends in these communities, we actually have a better chance of selling them on the idea of health care, a friendly approach is a winning approach.
The three NOs! The first NO means, tell me some more, the second NO means hurry up, get to the point, and the third NO means, come back another day, and try again. (that is my most applied motto in this whole activity).
Getting MoM up and running is no different to being a door to door salesman, and at times we want to give up and rest our weary legs, but we know that the correct approach is one of perserverance and keeping focused on the end game, looking for that little cottage…. It is out there, and we need to keep on knocking on doors to make it happen….