The State of FTF: A Summer Blog

When we write to our supporters we tend to talk about daily life and our work in the field. It is all very warm and often very unique. But sometimes it is not very didactic. It’s rarely “just the facts, maam.” Well, this little blog is just the facts. Let’s call it The State of the Summer Blog.

Malcolm Gladwell says experts are made through repetition and time on task. We think he is on to something. Here are some numbers spanning the last 12 months. Think of these things as stuff we like to say out loud, to anyone who will listen:

Guatemala Field Work

  • 370 hours spent vetting, on-boarding and consulting with 25 FTF Impresarios

  • 200 hours spent writing, creating and producing Impresario profiles

  • 640 hours in successful Hogar Orphanage Immersionship

  • 1,200 hours teaching in our Chuiyaktanyup Mayan Village School Immersionship

  • 244 hours spent in class/studying Spanish/ Mayan dialect of K'Iche

  • 160 hours planning and executing first ever FTF Keipi Journey (Guatemala)

  • 80 hours assisting in the construction of the Health and Help Clinic

  • 96 hours on two medical jornadas (real-time portable health clinics) in conjunction with FTF Impresario Abraham and his Kama'wa'ik School

  • 25 hours recruiting and training two new Guatemalan Field Workers set for 2018

  • 1 incalculably long night delivering a child

  • 2,240 hours immersed in Mayan culture doing things like: Being confused, playing soccer without shoes, marching in parades, attending funerals, attending baptisms, cooking Thanksgiving Day dinners, freezing our toes off, searching for wifi, hanging off the sides of pickup trucks and chicken buses and getting Dengue fever.

Sierra Leone Field Work

In Sierra Leone all of our data comes from the first six months of Dan and Doc Salsa’s Immersionship. Here are some highlights:

  • 768 hours spent working in the FTF Sierra Leone Medical Clinic Immersionship. This time includes the establishment of:

  • Free medical attention for more than 600 orphaned and disabled children

  • A malaria control, prevention and correction management program

  • Minor surgery response offerings

  • Malnutrition detection

  • Chronic patient program to treat diabetes, mellitus and high blood pressure

  • 640 hours studying three African languages (Krio, Mende, Temne) in two immersionships

  • 40 hours per week supervising 11 building projects including:

  • 2 schools

  • 2 orphanages

  • 2 toilet blocks

  • 2 administration buildings

  • 2 volunteer apartments

  • 1 dining hall

  • 25 Public transport vehicles hailed per week

  • 13 Mangos consumed in per day

  • 60 Eggs consumed per week

  • 3 newly-acquired godchildren

  • 368 Push-ups per workout

  • 4 fights broken up or mediated

  • 150 cups of coffee consumed with Mary, the best Australian woman ever

In March, 2018, three months after our field workers arrived, a new clinic was opened in the Orthodox Christian College located in Tower Hill, Freetown. This partnership with the Orthodox Mission has created:

  • Consultations and services for more than 1,000 destitute patients

  • Free and accessible medical care for the Tower Hill Community

Some numbers from our Florida HQ

  • 77% of the money we raise goes directly to our work in the field.  

  • 23% is spent to support our field workers (admin costs back here in the states)

  • Our field worker salaries are $375 a month, commensurate with the Peace Corps stipend.

And because the world is never all rainbows and sunshine, here are some things at which we need to get better:

  • Our impresarios are most excellent people. We need to finish funding their best ideas. Targeted fundraising for their projects must improve.

  • We stumbled at getting great history and Krio culture teachers in Sierra Leone. We failed to pay them the salaries they needed to stay consistent. Fail blog.

  • Our goal is to be in local homes talking to simple people about real problems. In Sierra Leone this has been harder than we thought. Our immersionship is busy! We aim to improve this in the next quarter.

  • Our Phase II Impresario Development plan is up and running! But boy did it take lots and lots of re-writing and re-doing and re-thinking. Too slow!

  • Our deep immersion process is really difficult. Our men in field feel this. But they don’t often explain it. FTF is beefing up the at-site mentoring and training program to better support our field workers. Their work is very demanding. They need more support.

  • Communications with our donors can be overwhelming. We didn’t do this as well as we should. We are now working to streamline our Network for Good tools to give our supporters better access to our work without cluttering their in-boxes.

  • The clinic in Waterloo is amazing. But we failed to find the necessary assistance in terms of infrastructure. We need more stuff in the clinic! It matters. Our next project in Sierra Leone is a medical recruitment program that will send medical personnel and key supplies into Sierra Leone. Deep breathe!

If you can think of ways to support us join our network and lets get some work done. If you can donate, do that too. But in the end, we'd love to have you help us create a culture of authentic, loving, sustainable assistance to the forgotten poor. We got this, but only with your help!

john heers6 Comments