My grad school stats class was a crash course in every obscure spreadsheet function I’d never heard of before. PivotTables, indexing, nested formulas, transposing columns, conditional formatting…bluh. A friend of mine in the class was genuinely fascinated by the amazing application that is Microsoft Excel, and I envied her enthusiasm. Complex data crunching just isn’t my cup of tea. I can assure you I was doing the dance of joy when I submitted the final project to the professor, and then swore I’d never deal with another “megaformula” again.
On the bright side, taking that class did give me some extensive practice in commonly used spreadsheet tools. I may not be writing megaformulas anymore, but I can turn thousands of rows of raw data into some pretty darn cute charts and graphs. This skill has even come in handy in our service work on this trip.
Dusting off my old Excel skills meant I could continue some of the work we were doing with an organization in Ethiopia. Despite leaving Addis Ababa back in November, I’ve still been helping Salem’s, an organization supporting local crafters as they create and sell their wares. Crunching sales data and developing reports for them has helped inform their operational decision making for the coming year. This particular service project proved we can establish long term relationships with organizations and give them assistance long after our time in the local community has ended.
As an added bonus, our girls got a brief lesson in Excel. As you can see, they’re as excited as I was to delve into the magical world of complicated Excel functions. Maybe the topic of spreadsheets needs to make its first appearance in our homeschooling curriculum?