Prologue: I have a great picture of Dany and his mom for this post but the internet is acting weird so I’m going to get it later once I publish. happy reading.
Woke up today in a great mood. The headache I had last night was completely gone which was a great thing. Had a good breakfast and started on the drafting project. Got some great information on the building that I didn’t have the other days.
Once I got done with the drawings I got a hatchet from Herma and some gloves from one of the boys in the shop. Then I started on tearing down the foliage in the front of the compound. We need to be able to set some stakes for the new building tomorrow and it was impossible to get to the wall to take measurements. I started working on cutting down all the branches and then one of the other guys came to help. We tore down everything and then raked it all into a big pile. My arms and legs have scratches all over them, but I call them battle scars and roar like a lion to make myself feel more manly.
It’s very exciting to see the changes that are going on in front of my eyes to get this project going. Drafting is good. Chopping and raking is good. What really is exciting is to hear Dany talk about his vision for the Monkeys, the compound, Aywa, etc. Sometimes I underestimate Dany and his fervent desire to help the people here and make a better life for them. He has built relationships and has that level of trust with the guys in the shop and also with the people around him outside the compound.
I think when I sat and talked to Dany, I was very judgmental. I saw him with a bunch of stubble and he talks in, what seemed to me, a very uneducated style. Boy was I ever wrong. Dany grew up in the same culture I’m visiting now. He grew up with these people and has integrated their culture into his own style. He is very different in the fact that he has an incredible entrepreneurial spirit.
Even now while I’m drafting the plans for this building I’m thinking that there are only going to be 2 stories; the main floor to house the shops and the second floor as a dorm for the boys. Once I start talking to him today, he tells me his plan is to go three stories high!!! Like I said, I underestimate Dany sometimes. He tells me that he’s going to be incorporating his plans for Aywa into the building by housing the engines for his projects there too. He’s taking a trip to some of the jatropha plantations here in Senegal that will fuel the engines. His workshop back home is his haven to get away from the “civilized” world and think.
Dany is definitely a thinker and a visionary. He can cast a vision that would get anyone excited. Most people I know that Dany invites to Africa come. Some of them twice. =) Some with some hesitation but once you stay here, it gets in your blood and you want everyone to experience it. I want my wife and kids to be with me so bad. To have, not only the community, but the family experience at well is certainly on my bucket list. Julie has asked several times how old she has to be when she can come with me. My answer will probably always be, “Ask your mom.”
I was talking to Wendell today about Dany, too. Wendell is a friend of Dany’s when he moved back to the States. Wendell is from Ethiopia and believes with all his heart that the ark of the covenant is in Ethiopia. Very interesting topic and you should ask him about it sometime. I digress. Anyway, I see Dany as being only part of the puzzle. He delegates very well to people and when they catch the vision, they get excited themselves. I wonder if Dany would do well with a protoge; someone who could complete Dany and be the other puzzle piece. That someone would need to be a free spirit and able to not only understand the vision that Dany has but also to be able to know the steps to put it into action. Imagine two people walking through a jungle and needing to get to a certain point. Dany is holding the map and knows the destination. The other person is wearing the backpack, holding a machete in their hand ready for marching orders.
Perhaps, I’m wrong. Perhaps Dany already has this person or maybe that “person” is many people. These are just my own thoughts. I think about my own life and how my wife and I fit so well together. Although the phrase has become cliche, I can say with all honesty that, “she completes me.” I guess I wish that everyone knew that kind of feeling.