Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is no time to panic

I will not panic.

The volcanoes have not erupted. The gas in the lake has not killed us all. The war has not escalated. The bandits have not arrived at our house. In fact we are all perfectly fine.

It is just that I feel a tad bit stressed. Somehow I started this venture called SHONA without having any idea what I was getting myself into. Which is good, since otherwise I would not have done it. And I usually proceed in precisely this same manner, never realizing exactly how far I have to go. I just work on posting the next item, developing the next product, or writing the next blog.

And look how far we've gotten!

Except that today I looked at too many other people's websites. They all looked beautiful, and highly professional. And then I looked at mine...which is...well...mine. Don't get me wrong there is tons of good info on there and lots of great photos and you should definitely check it out . It is just that, in case you can't guess, I made it by hand. I didn't realize there were google websites and the like, which offer nice prefab. templates. No, I typed the html into "HTML pad pro" and then my free subscription ran out and I typed the rest into a text document. Talk about doing things the hard way, especially when you start out knowing zero about HTML.

So today I started looking at some other very professional looking operations. And it made me a bit panicky. HOW are we ever going to get there??? There are only so many balls that I can juggle on any given day.

But today I refuse to panic. I will remember how far we've come.

I will remember that...

I work with an incredible group of craftspeople.

They have mastered all of our current products and are entirely self-motivated and self-directed, something that I was told was impossible for young handicapped women.

They are working hard to learn math and French, and are becoming quite good at managing their income.

We have a ton of cool new products coming out soon.

We have loyal, supportive customers who make everything possible.

We have a video. Check it out here.

We are on twitter. Join us here.

We are on facebook. Join us here.

So what if none of our "faces" on the Internet are quite as good as I want them to be. We're here. That is what matters right?


Lynn said...

Oh, Dawn, please don't be discouraged. Look at it through someone else's eyes (mine): you live in a part of the world that has very little going for it: poverty, war, natural instability...instability in every sense really. You're not from could choose to come home, but you're committed to the place. When you got there, you looked around and saw that there was great need. Many newcomers to that place must have noticed this before you. Yet you chose to do something about it. You made a profound connection with some human beings in need and you acted to try to make things better. And you have.
I live in Chicago, where I look around with the same kind of eyes you do, and see need here, too. But I don't act. I don't know where to start and what to do to help. I feel deeply for those in need, but I get easily overwhelmed and choose to do nothing. I look at you and feel awe. Yes, there are huge problems there and a great deal to discourage you, but you are strong enough to handle any barriers. You are a gift from God for those ladies, and God is never going to leave you nor forsake you. But even if God did abandon you (and when I look at your photos from Goma, it's easy to see how a person could think God has forsaken that place), YOU would still be strong enough and have the purity of heart to keep making things better.
Allow me the honor of being an encouragement to you today. I think you're a hero, and I'm very grateful to know you.
As for your website, don't sweat it; I can help you update its look. Plus, the content of a site is always going to be more important than how it looks, so it has a lot going for it already. You are right where you are supposed to be: you got the business going, now it's time to jazz up the website. We can do that together, if you like.
Take care of yourself,
In friendship,

Vysakh and Shereena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vysakh and Shereena said...

Do not be discouraged.
Having been associated with Rwanda ,Goma etc for the last ten years , we know the importance of NGO and such organisations in war and poverty torn places.

Because of that reason as soon as we started our company, an IT consultancy (in Infancy) (soon starting office in Kigali ), we also started

Which is a service for people exactly like you. First thing we will be able to put up your sites on our servers for free (in most cases) Do most of the development for free or almost negligible cost which we charge because we believe in empowerment and not just helping as the saying goes its better to teach a man to fish than to give him one.

We can even help you set up an online shop (which you are paying 15$ a month ) this one as it will be integrated into your site will be more pleasing to your customers and also help you reduce that cost from your operating expenses.

Our aim with is to help People like you to better concentrate on what you do best help others and leave the technicalities to us. Most of the service s come free if the waytoempowerment team takes up your project.

The best part of the whole deal is that i have been following your blog from last week and the team had asked me to talk to you and let you know about us. Now when i check on reader today there is your post about your site not being uptodate in terms of looks.
Why we have and why do service for free(mostly)

Main reason is that we want to help the smaller NGO's organisation Co-operative societies etc that are struggling to make ends meet to be taken off the burden of IT services

Two if we do a good deed to you, and provide good service for free then you will surely tell your friends and the word will spread which( we believe and till now has proven right) bring us paying customers.

you can contact me at
ntglobal is an IT consultancy that is in its infancy the core team consists of 3 Computer engineers my wife, my brother and I. The rest of the team forms the staff for development the design house the deployment team and the advisory council which include various professors from around the globe.

My wife and I are shifting to Rwanda to start off the sister concern there by July.

I guess i have told too much about what we are and what we do i wanted to do that on mail and not here in the public but your post was exactly the kind we have been wanting to solve , and seeing that brought out my passion about

We are interested in you, if you would wanna come along with us on to just sent me a mail on and we will take it further from there

Colored Opinions said...

I discovered this news just by reading your blogpost. How are the people in Goma dealing with it these days?

shona congo said...

Thank you all for your generosity. i really appreciate it!

shona congo said...

Thank you all for your generosity. i really appreciate it!

Lynn, we all play an important parts in the world. You are a kind and generous person and I find it highly unlikely that you "do nothing", sometimes it is just easier to see and appreciate the things someone else is doing. I get the grand backdrop of Congo, but the reality is that we touch people's lives one word and one kind act at a time, no matter where we are.

Thank you for all the kind things you have done for me!