In this next interview I would like to introduce you to the second manager on the farm: Fillip. A cheerful young fellow with a great philosophy towards work and life itself – it’s all a learning process. As a field manager his job revolves around the results on the field. Because Lake Victoria Vanilla is still in the construction phase, decisions are often based on incomplete information. When unforeseen challenges occur, the management team must solve them using brainpower and whatever knowledge is available. Sometimes plans crash and new solutions must be found. This process involves a lot of trial-and-error. The almost thirty-year-old Philip has previously been working as a college tutor, where he functioned as a mentor to help, inform and inspire the students. He brought these qualities with him for his job at Lake Victoria Vanilla, where he is in charge of the field workers. Every time something goes wrong – or something goes well – Fillip has to ask himself why: “When challenges occur, it only makes you come out wiser on the other side. Do changes. Do knowledge. I learn new things every day,” he says.
Growing vanilla is a long process, and the work done today won’t yield a result for several years. Fillip and his colleagues will have to wait for the first harvest in 2024 before they can evaluate the effort of their work, and it can be challenging not seeing the outcome right away. That’s why everything must be done in the right order and at the right time. It takes some mistakes to learn the best way to do things. Experiments taught Fillip and his colleagues that long vanilla cuttings grow faster than short ones. ”It is learning by doing,” he explains. But it’s also about learning from others and taking new knowledge into consideration. Fillip explains how the job has even taught him some lessons about himself in the process: “You learn something through the job but also about yourself through other people.” It’s not just a workplace, it’s a learnplace too.