Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A week later

A week since I wrote... not sure if that is a good sign or a bad one.

It's been a week of ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like its all overwhelming and I cannot continue and sometimes I feel like things are moving forward.

Overwhelmed? There are many more things to do than we can do and all of us at times this week have felt we are just cranking the wheel and getting nowhere. We had never intended doing lots of maintainance type stuff essential to keep things going, yet we find ourselves doing a lot of that. These are things like keeping email and websites and audio streams going.

When you visit a website it feels like the author just wrote the stuff and that's it. For him that is it, but we are maintaining the computers and systems that keep his material there. And that is a lot more like the maintainance needed to keep an aeroplane flying than the maintainance needed on a house. The engineer looks at the aeroplane after every flight, two or three times a day often, yet our houses need action infrequently.

Today we had a team meeting and we drew all the relationships and all the locations on the white board - we realised how many people we are serving and how many depend on us. We are doing a lot of things for a lot of people. We realised how international we are when one of our partners paid us this week and that one financial transaction involved 6 countries!

So in amonst the feeling of getting nowhere there is the odd nugget. We were talking about training and I get tired of training because it often seems people should be able to find some of the stuff out for themselves. So I have as a value teaching people how to learn rather than just how to do something. When the subject of training came up I groaned inwardly. However one of my colleagues from another country said that at some recent training he had done he had been using my approach of not just teaching people how to do the task but of how to learn for themselves... and he said it was working. This is a big change for the Middle East, where that whole approach is counter-cultural, but necessary for today's world. Maybe I am making a small change after all...

It's been a time of change this week too - we moved three of the rooms in the office round. We are having more people come to stay and work with us for a month at a time and they stay in the guest room at the office. We moved the guest room to one that we didn't need to go through on a regular basis and was more out of the way. It won't be long before we really need a guest apartment for visiting staff, but we don't have money to pay for that yet.

This also gave more space for workstations, which we will need with both the extra people coming and going and because we had an extra full time person start this week. This means that reguarly there will be between 5 and 7 people in the office for the next few months. We are having to learn to communicate better and work more as a team than just a couple of individuals.

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