Many of you know that Numana’s headquarters are in Kansas, but in recent times, we have had staff members living all across the country. I live in Louisiana. So go ahead with all of your assumptions. I don’t have all my teeth. I have a pet alligator. I ride my pirogue down the bayou to purchase my groceries and we live from hurricane to hurricane. Most of that isn’t the case, but we are definitely no strangers to the whims of mother nature and massive storms.
You may have seen on the news a few months ago, the devastating floods in south Louisiana. For days I was speechless as I watched the water rise. My family was safe, but for thousand of our friends and neighbors the water rose so quickly there was no way out. Hundreds of volunteers from parishes (county for you non Louisiana folks) all around the state rushed to cajun country with their own personal boats to rescue those who were trapped. So many responded they were dubbed “The Cajun Navy”.
The waters have now receded and the Navy has returned to their homes. Now millions are left to sort through soaking wet family photos. To rip the sheetrock from their walls. To rebuild.
Relief came for those in South Louisiana in the form of a volunteer rescue boat and a warm meal. Development will now come as these people return to work. As they rebuild their homes, their roads, their lives.
A crisis creates an immediate need. Relief for that need most often has to be met by someone outside of the crisis. The need is met. For future life to exist on it’s own, in a healthy manner, development must now occur. Development is most often led by locals and people from within the community.
Relief is good but for too long, it can create dependency on the part of those being helped and exhaustion on the part of those helping. True development will create independence and sustainability.
So all of this relief and development talk, what does it have to do with Numana… where does Numana fit into the equation? One or the other. Relief or development? It’s BOTH!
In Africa, Numana was able to respond to the immediate needs during the Ebola crisis by providing food for the villagers who weren’t able to work due to sickness, as well as the relief workers. That is relief. At the exact same time, we were sending meals to our partners at Africa New Life. There, the meals were used to feed people at schools and orphanages. These meals will allow students to focus while in school. At Africa New Life they are planting farms and learning what it looks like to create a self-sustaining community. This is long term development.
Currently in Haiti relief work is still happening from the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Crops were destroyed and there is little fresh water. Over 570,000 meals have already been shipped there to assist. This is relief. At the same time, Numana and our Haitian partners, Mission of Hope and HaitiOne are working together to plan a new farm to table program which will allow the sourcing of food from local Haitian farmers. This is long term development.
In the near future, we are going to give you the opportunity to be a part of some relief work and some exciting new development work. We encourage you to think about the differences and similarities in the two and prepare to engage yourself with these topics. Your engagement can literally be a life changer for someone!