|From Africa 2007|
One of the best and most wonderful things about visiting the field is the people that you meet. My favorite people to meet and talk with are our national staff. I've met some pretty amazing ones so far, but Mamo is really the man.
Mamo is from Ethiopia, near the area where we have been seeing the projects I've been describing. He is a true professional. We spent the better part of two days with him. He showed us his projects and told us about the people that the IRC is helping. What struck me most was how level headed he was and how grounded he was in his work. He seemed never to get too up, or too down.
I noticed that he commanded the respect of everyone he encountered - from his staff to the local community members, teachers and farmers. It was a pleasure to not only have met him, but to have spent so much time with him.
When we got back to his office, I pointed at Mieso and then Asebe Teferi on the map and said very confidently that the distance was 25 kilometers. He looked at me blankly and paused before saying "how did you know that." I smiled and said I was keeping track as we drove in my head, that I could calculate distances like that. He looked shocked for a moment, and I finally told him that I had seen a road sign. He smiled and we had a laugh. After all, what American even knows how far an kilometer is anyway.
I am really honored to know that I work for an organization that not only values every employee, but goes out of the way to hire and retain national employees like Mamo, Dawit, Teklemariam and Yifru.