People aren’t proactive and will defer as much as they can till the last minute. I feel like a bloody nag and I hate it, it’s not my normal style. Hard enough to liven myself up some days especially since our boss is in the UK and very busy with his day job and we have infrequent contact. I live and work in the same building (house) too of course.
We’d been talking about this meeting for NINE weeks (since I’d arrived). An all-day power cut was forecast and there was just time to run around and get stuff printed, causing unnecessary stress. I was fuming but I didn’t say anything. (The day will come!)
I’d been on a VSO training course the week before and honestly can’t see that a stroke of work was done while I was away.
Moments like these make you wonder what you’re doing here: you give (intelligent, educated) people direction, like a weekly round-up of what we’ve achieved and what we need to do the next week, and things still don’t get done or they’re half done and not explored. To be fair, when things get busy the team do react but there’s very little to manage or administer at project level currently. I’d just like a bit more energy around the place to help motivate me with all the planning I need to do.
As for living and working in same location there are obvious pros and cons. Here it means I can arrive at work cool as a cucumber, not sweaty and covered in red dust! I can even take a shower in the middle of the day. When 5 o’clock (yes 5 o’clock!!) comes, I’m already home but it doesn’t mean I’ve left work behind…
Africans generally will pick up things and look at them, they don’t have this ‘do you mind if I take a look?’ approach us overly polite British have. With so many people living in very small homes, Africans just haven’t had the chance to adopt the possessive / protective tendencies us mzungus have. When I buy something new for the kitchen Eva and Simpson thank me. And I feel awful. Inside I’m thinking hands off it’s mine I’ve bought it for my kitchen! But they are so open and genuinely appreciative of every small thing I do or buy, it’s so humbling. We came back from Mt Elgon trip with an unopened tin of drinking chocolate. I knew Eva would like it and she was over the moon when I offered it to her. When she saw it was Cadbury’s – the real thing – she went crazy, grabbed hold of my hand and shook it! It’s hard to be angry or resentful towards anyone here for long. Eva had a long face just now so I cut her off a chunk of pumpkin to take home, she’s beaming from ear to ear now.
[PHOTOS: Eva collects avocadoes in the compound. The fruit were so heavy the branch CRACKED off the tree. We all went running outside. The thud of the fruit sounded like someone had fallen out of the tree. Eva collected fifty avocadoes that day.]
So much time out of the office must partly explain why I’m finding it hard to get motivated at the moment though. Have great chats with office staff Patrick and Enid but neither seem to have a lot of work on so I try and liven them up.