So, yeah, quite a lot has happened since my last post to this blog. In particular, made a trip to Congo in February-March with Sheldon Gilmer, World Hope Canada to visit the project(s) and our managers. Had an excellent time reconnecting with our team, hearing about project activities, and planning next steps. We met several new people in different contexts and capacities and I, personally, found the trip extremely broadening in development theory and practices through many discussions with seasoned professional development ‘officers’.
On the tail-end of our time there, we were to cross paths with another gentleman, Randy Bevis, an aquaculturist, who was entering the country to see how he could also contribute to aquaculture development in Equateur Province. We had spoken together in February, prior to leaving for Africa, but had not met prior to Congo.
Originally from the US, Randy studied aquaculture in Thailand and then spent the following 18-20 years there, working in partnership with the nationals on a self-sufficient, aquaculture operation for rural development. He is now back in the states and applying his skills in aquaculture to assist international development projects for poverty alleviation. Randy partners with multiple organizations and is now lending his assistance to FISH for HOPE/World Hope Canada and our partner organization in Congo, the CEUM.
Randy’s experience does a lot to round out our team. Though a professional aquaculturist myself, my knowledge of tropical aquaculture is mostly academic, whereas Randy’s is thoroughly practical and practiced. We speak the same language, see many of the same things, but Randy has ideas that have already been tested and applied in other settings successfully. He brings ideas that I would learn about only through research. It’s great to have his knowledge and expertise to draw from.
I’ll update again soon with some of our next steps for FISH for HOPE.