• Jessica

starting a project is like catching a fish in the ocean

Updated: Jul 11, 2019

After 17 months of planning, writing, rewriting, Skype calling, emailing, and networking, I finally arrived in Maputo, Mozambique this past Saturday! Tomorrow begins 5 days of intensive meetings that will hopefully manage to move the BUY2THRIVE project through to implementation in the Summer of 2019. While in the capital of Maputo for the first several days of the week, I will be meeting with government and non-governmental employees to get a deeper understanding of the work being done in Mozambique to address nutrition. I will be flying to Nampula, one of the northern provinces later this week to meet with Unilurio, a local university with an excellent reputation for high quality research and their nutrition program. Unilurio will be helping to implement B2T, which we are both very excited about!

Sitting on the patio this afternoon, I looked out to the beach (rough life, I know) and saw a team of men in a small boat paddling aggressively through the choppy ocean waves. One was bailing water as 3 rowed, hard. They were dropping a net into the ocean. Shortly after they arrived on the beach, they began spreading the net. They pulled and pulled, using a stick to help navigate the net. Finally, the net had been spread far enough and two women joined to help drag in the net. The amount of effort they exerted should have been enough to drag in a shark or a small whale, instead, I watched as they pulled in dozens of small fish. At first, there was just one or two stuck in the net, and slowly as they continued to drag, muscles flexed and brows sweating, more and more fish were brought in until a fairly substantial haul had been brought in. The whole process took almost an hour.

I can't help but see the similarities with the planning process of the B2T program. I could identify with each of the phases I watched unfold. Some days it felt as though I was trying in vain to reach the shore, paddling a boat that continued to flood. Other days, its felt like I've been spreading the net, wondering if I've come close to spreading it wide enough. Now as I begin to drag in the net, I wonder how small the fish may or may not be. But! What I have learned through this whole process is how many people are out there that are willing to listen to your vision, willing to help you accomplish it, willing to ride out the time it takes to finish spreading the net and able to help you draw it in. I have talked to some remarkable people committed to advancing nutrition in Mozambique, I have been lucky to have the support of dedicated academic advisors, and my friends and family have been patient, supportive, and continue to ask after the work I'm pursuing here.

I am not exactly sure what is to come of this project, but I do know that I appreciate how much work it has been and all those that have been willing to support its development. I hope you will follow along with me as BUY2THRIVE continues to unfold!


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