Starting a new job requires a sort of re-calibrating yourself and how you do things. Every workplace is different, bringing its own unique environment and atmosphere. You have to re-adapt, which can be hard depending on where you are. Lucky for me, Blood:Water has been a smooth transition…it is almost like a coming home of sorts.
I already feel aligned with who we are and how we do things. There are numerous aspects that I LOVE about this organization. Besides the unbelievably brave task of tackling the water and HIV crises, the people here have huge hearts and are larger than life. So, I wanted to share with you the top 10 things I have learned since starting here in late April.
- Playfulness: The team at Blood:Water is playful, full of laughter and smiles. There is always a joke being made, bringing a light-hearted nature to the team…which is important when dealing with such serious issues. God made joy a fruit of the spirit, and Blood:Water has lots of joyful fruits.
- Cupcakes and Popcorn: For each person’s birthday, we support our local cupcake shop to celebrate. We might as well have an account there (we probably do..), but it is a great way to make each birthday person feel special. We also have our own popcorn machine in the office, which helps set a celebratory atmosphere when we have meetings. It is the little things like cupcakes and popcorn that make someone feel appreciated.
3. Appreciation: Blood:Water is a team, through and through. There is support on all levels, recognizing the importance of each and every teammate. Being appreciated is a huge motivator for anyone and Blood:Water gets that.
4. Books: People at Blood:Water read, and not just simple books. We are curious, reading about the world, books that open our eyes to the reality of what is beyond us. We have our own book collection…books about Africa, about nonprofits, about faith. One of our co-founders is coming out with her own book in August. Blood:Water is saturated with people who are externally focused.
5. The Bachelorette: Yes. The same people that read these complex books ALSO indulge in “The Bachelorette,” which they (we) discuss every morning after the most recent episode. I know, sounds silly, BUT it brings a camaraderie to the team, allowing us to take a couple of minutes to again be playful. (A couple team members may have even attended the Nashville auditions this week…)
6. Music: Blood:Water was founded by musicians. We are headquartered in Music City. Music runs through our blood, allowing us to communicate in a way that is unique to the HIV and water crises. Music brings beauty to the world and to our work not just in Nashville, but with our partners in Africa, as they guide us through their towns with song and dance.
7. Transparency: Blood:Water was founded by a band and a 22-year-old. They made mistakes, had to learn a lot of things the hard way. This led to humility and transparency, two incredibly important aspects of this organization that are at the heart of who we are.
8. Water is a gift and HIV is incredibly complex: Water is something we take for granted every day. I came in as one of the worst; I love baths. But Blood:Water has given me serious perspective of how much of a privilege clean water is. It has changed the way I think. HIV/AIDS is incredibly complicated and stigmatized. We have come leaps and bounds since its origination, but we have SO far to go. It’s about loving and caring deeply for those with HIV, just like anyone else.
9. Widespread: Because Blood:Water was started when Jars of Clay was touring the country, many of our donors are from all over. It is amazing that people from around the United States know and support this small organization doing big things. We love to visit our donors and celebrate their advocacy.
10. No fear: Blood:Water isn’t scared to step into the scary stuff. We began our work in Africa in 2004, at a time when not many were doing the same. We are honest about who we are (which can be very scary) and we don’t walk away from a challenge. We aren’t afraid to work in intimidating areas or situations, knowing that God will watch over as we care for His people.