We asked various Food for the Hungry field staff to tell us what they’d like short-term team members to know before they visit the communities where FH works. Below are their responses.
On Becoming a Team…
- “Be prepared to be swarmed with attention because you are a visitor. This is nice, but always remember the purpose of your trip and pray that Christ can be seen in you wherever you go. Servanthood, humility and grace are ideal qualities for team members.” – Markos Kidane, FH/Ethiopia
- “Trust us! We know how things work on the field, and we’ll do what is best for you and the community.” – Jannina Flores, FH/Peru
- “Be patient and flexible – this cannot be emphasized enough. Also, being positive – always looking at the bright side of things, outgoing – goes out of their way to meet and get to know people, and being tactful – giving suggestions on how to improve things.” – Loise Nduati, FH/Kenya
- “Teams are a blessing when they are willing and motivated to find new ways to serve and spend time with that community, even if it’s not on the schedule. Being ready to interact with different kinds of people is also a blessing.” – Jorge Arias, FH/Bolivia
- “It’s a blessing when teams are able to keep it simple.” – Walter Turnbull, FH/Haiti
For more insight on becoming a team, read Session 1 of the FH Team Training Manual.
On Serving Cross Culturally…
- “Look for the beautiful.” – Walter Turnbull, FH/Haiti
- “Teams that are a blessing to us have been those who are eager to learn about the country, its rich culture and enjoy spending time with the staff and community members.” – Andrea Danz, FH/Bangladesh
- “Don’t expect things to work the same way they do at home. Be flexible and willing to adjust and accept new ideas and concepts.” – Jannina Flores, FH/Peru
- “The sense of time in communities is really different from the American sense of time. Nobody wears a watch, and they usually have to walk long distances to get to places.” – Jorge Arias, FH/Bolivia
- “Community members assume that foreigners have a lot of money and don’t have problems or challenges, and that their life is better than their life. It would be important to find a way of sharing that this is not the case.” – Loise Nduati, FH/Kenya
- “Team Members can communicate with local people beyond words. Body language like a smile, handshake or hug can communicate sometimes even better than words.” – Jorge Arias, FH/Bolivia
- “Do not suffer quietly. Please share (respectfully) during nightly debriefings if you are struggling with conditions in the field or ways things are being done. We may not always be able to fix something but we can provide understanding.” – Hope Aogon, FH/Uganda
For more insight on serving cross culturally, read Session 2 of the FH Team Training Manual.
On Understanding Poverty…
- “Try to understand and digest the question, ‘Am I so poor that all I have is my money?’” – Walter Turnbull, FH/Haiti
- “Sometimes people come, thinking they will do something to help solve the problem of poverty. When they arrive and realize that the poverty is too overwhelming, they give up and don’t do anything in the future. If you can come, knowing that you can’t change someone or take them out of poverty in a short visit, but rather come to learn, then you will have a very positive experience.” —Andrea Danz, FH/Bangladesh
For more insight on serving cross culturally, read Session 3 of the FH Team Training Manual.
On Embracing Relationships and Tapping Ideas & Resources…
- “It’s not about the team or Food for the Hungry, it’s about God and the community.” – Jorge Arias, FH/Bolivia
- “The community feels important, worthy, valued and blessed when a team comes to visit them.” – Loise Nduati, FH/Kenya
- “The most important thing is the interaction and learning process with the community and children, rather than the doing of projects. Usually a team can participate on the project and show their involvement, but the community or skilled labor usually needs to do the project.” – Feye Tola, FH/Ethiopia
- “It is refreshing to the staff to receive visitors, even for a short time, it is encouraging.” – Markos Kidane, FH/Ethiopia
- “Projects are important in that they are used as a means which God’s love can be demonstrated. Interactions with the community and team can happen and ultimately the community is transformed (and so is the team member! J ).” – Hope Aogon, FH/Uganda
- “A team’s visit creates a bridge for FH to build deeper relationships with the community, and promotes greater participation in our FH programs.” – Jannina Flores, FH/Peru
- “A community feels honored that someone has taken the trouble to travel half way around the world to visit with them. It is also valuable that team members advocate when they get home because they have now seen first hand the work going on in the field.” – Andrea Danz, FH/Bangladesh
- “When a team visits, it usually creates a sense of humility in the community and compels them to ask why the team has come. This gives us the opportunity to share that the reason is because of Jesus Christ.” – Feye Tola, FH/Ethiopia
- “Don’t get stressed about time and the schedule, prioritize getting to know the people in the community and share Christ’s love with them.” – Loise Nduati, FH/Kenya
- “Project is not building a school or church. Project is getting to know the people in the community and learning how you can best partner with the community over the long term.” – Walter Turnbull, FH/Haiti
- “Irresponsible giving can hurt more than it can help. Help us respect the dignity of the community by not giving irresponsibly.” – Feye Tola, FH/Ethiopia
For more insight on embracing relationships, read Session 4 of the FH Team Training Manual.