Last week was frustrating in many ways … I know I’ve hardly mentioned it so far with all the other excitement BUT … I am actually here to do a job too!
On Friday we let the junior member of staff go. Gladys has a lovely disposition but not one that favours working, taking the initiative or getting to work less than an hour late everyday! It’s disappointing but on a 4 day trip to visit the projects –SAFARI!* – for the first time Gladys (the projects assistant) only asked 3 questions. And then didn’t turn up to work the next day. So, not much future for her on her own in the field managing projects when she has to take a day off after every trip…
Another frustration has been Angela ‘blood-out-of-a-stone’ the intern who we are helping with a final year degree research proposal. Every time I question her budget she looks at me as though she wants to murder me. That girl has such an attitude I want to throttle her … but then she gives us the sweetest smile …
We’ve been trying to address these issues while still chasing up (it’s all the vogue here) a number of house issues:
– Leaking shower
– Serious damp in my wardrobe – clothes still not unpacked after three weeks
– Two diseased trees in the compound
Patrick, the Projects Officer, is very enthusiastic about everything but admits to hating paperwork. He’s asked me to help with his IT skills. He’s self-taught and I can see how I can easily help him work more efficiently and even start enjoying using technology. He’s very receptive to being shown anything new: I showed him how to print double sided – it was like pulling a rabbit out of a hat in his eyes!
Enid on the other hand, doesn’t seem to like change I realize. She accepts the fact her email may take 30 seconds to send, and that when wireless doesn’t work all three of us have to use her PC. “That’s Uganda for you,”she sighs after venting spleen about the internet provider, the landlord, the owner of the property, the electrician … and I realize that as much as she is trying to enlighten me, she seems to be enjoying my frustration. When I suggest alternatives, she offers me a brickwall / another reason why so-and-so solution just won’t work “that’s Uganda for you.”
With all the other changes taking place, I’m not going to attempt to change Enid’s attitude directly. I’ll work with Patrick (who has asked me for IT support) and if he chooses to suggest to Enid she follows suit then that’ll be great. She’s an intelligent lady so I’m not going to push her. Although I had two long conversations with her about Sophie and felt we all agreed to let Sophie go, Enid may still feel threatened. Since the last volunteer left, it seems there’s been a lack of communication between the UK and Uganda, and motivation and morale are low so I think I should tread carefully now.
As we’ve been working out what to do about Gladys for the last fortnight, certain things have been left on hold. But now she’s gone we can get on building the team. I’m going to cook everyone lunch this week, we can all eat together, kick back and have a laugh and I’ll get a photo of us all.
There’ll be five of us for lunch: the house team of Eva and Simpson, and the full-time Ugandan UCF team of me, Patrick and Enid.
(The directors and trustees all work on a part-time voluntary basis and my remit is to improve communication and involvement there too).
*SAFARI + photos will be the next blog entry …