Manica FFH Centre


Manica FFH Centre
Manica FFH Centre

As I see the Football for Hope Centre in Manica realise, I discovered I do not feel proud or excited. I feel more proud of my latest table tennis game or kick of a football.
Yet the Centre is supposed to be the fulfilment of a dream: a massive financial investment, the culmination of lots of initiative and effort, to get our small village chosen as one of 20 in Africa.
Even in terms of utility and local pride, the centre is a monument!

So why am I not that proud and excited personally?

It took me time to explore the issue and with the input of some friends I am starting to identify possible reasons:
– The use of a professional building contractor, led to a much different feeling than when ‘we’ built our other buildings. Even if we made the bricks for this one.
– We went through empty design consultations and in the end foreigners decided what to build and how it should look. Maybe they feel more proud of their creation.
– Considering where they money comes from, the success is a bit bitter-sweet. Since our previous buildings were built with money coming from friends that like us, believe in us and know us.
– Perhaps simply because this time I am in South Africa, while the building was erected in Mozambique
– Now that the building is up, the Governor, Barclays Manager, Mayor and all sorts are visiting and showing interest, catching attention, while in our previous 10 poor years, they were no where to be seen.

list to be continued… still feels weird and ambivalent. clearly I worry more about process than target, being an idealist that believe dominant pragmatism is never a justification for compromise.

3 thoughts on “Ownership”

  1. While I understand part of your points, others make me sad. Particulary remembering the process it took to get this confirmed – required a lot of friendship and trust.
    Maybe try to see it also this way: even if it’s not 100% your identity (I still hope it is though 95%…) you may have gained parts of the identity of 19 other sites, organisations, builings across the whole continent that all look very different but all pursue very similar goals.
    Could be very enriching?!

  2. Oh, no! Now I’m sad that you are sad! Please understand my blog is a personal space where I reflect on all my doubts, frustrations, learning and reactions to what I encounter in development. It helps me to deal with emotions, especially weird emotions I don’t understand. The very fact that I do not feel personally proud about the Centre is weird, thats why I journal about it.
    I have many positive thoughts and feelings about the Centre as well, but that is normal and thus not topic of a blog. Maybe an article on fcmanica.com or facebook. So PLEASE don’t compare my personal doubts and brainstorm about my own significance with all the good of the Centre. All my blogs are just short snap shots in time of Schalk dealing with his thoughts and feelings. It’s therefore not a judgement or critique on behalf of GDM or even myself.
    The fact that I feel ‘out of it’ is what Im trying to explore and that can have many causes, from my being white, to a sense of insignificance and replaceability. Why I share my struggles and negative thoughts is because I want to be open and transparent as a person and friend. In 10 years I have had the thought of abandoning Manica and never going back more than a thousand times (literally). Yet, I’m still here- because understanding all the issues allows me to in the end commit and enjoy from a grounded and real position.
    So, please don’t let me personal struggles and the list of “possible reasons” take away from a very important project, as I mention above, the Centre in Manica is a ‘monument’ of very good and important things.

  3. Now that the construction is completed and I see pictures from Manica coming through where the field and classroom is being used, I sense a different type of feeling. A bit more satisfaction and contentment. The building is now out of the hands of the contractor, and in the hands of GDM. All in all a story of success. Now to learn, enjoy and do maintenance!

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