After a couple of days of non-stop travel it was hard not to be tired when we finally arrived in Kalay, but I felt energised knowing that we would be spending the next 11 days at the centre of what ADC exists for.
The first thing I noticed when we landed was that it was hot. So hot! (Kalay routinely experiences highs above 30degC at this time of year, with lows not dipping below 20degC.)
Go Suan, ZMF’s CEO, met us at the airport with his trademark wide smile and big hugs. This is no ordinary business relationship - it is trust, understanding and friendship built over a long period.
The next day we met with the rest of the staff - they were equally warm and we had a great working relationship.
Clients can be a little different and the way they react and welcome you is different with each, depending on their personality. Trust is built over time, and you have to spend a little time with most of them for them to start opening up. This is why the ZMF staff try to build relationships with the clients, to build trust and understanding from both sides.
I am generally a pretty optimistic person, but even I didn't expect the trip to go as well as it did. It can be hard to build working relationships, even over the course of months or even years, so to get such a positive and warm welcome from day one was amazing.
There is something about ADC, its story and most importantly the people that have made it happen that make it pretty special. And this is certainly the case with the project in Myanmar.
What excited me most, aside from the clear opportunity to grow and have a significant impact, was the staff. They are so passionate about making a difference, and want to learn and grow as individuals and together to benefit people in their community.
This is exactly what ADC needs in a partner and it filled me with a whole lot of confidence.
Myanmar is changing rapidly. The country is opening up and that lends itself to significant development. There is a opportunity right now for ADC and our partner ZMF to take advantage of this and have a significant impact.
ZMF has one of only a few licenses to operate in the area that we do. With almost a decade of experience working in the area and developing a system that is working, ZMF is uniquely placed to expand and reach more people in need.
However, at the moment there is more demand than ZMF can meet.
Whilst this is a positive sign for the project - and I must stress that without the continued support of all of you, our donors and members, this would not be possible - it also means that unfortunately we are not having the maximum impact that could be possible.
The challenge for ADC as we grow is to maintain our soul. We have big goals - to transform thousands of lives. We need to build a community of supporters around our work that are delighted by what we are doing.
- Zac Colborne