Sunday, November 28, 2010


Due to a little practical glitch -- a very little glitch, when you consider the myriad of things that could go wrong in this line of work in this particular location -- my colleagues were not able to go out and do their work today: they spent the whole day in the office.

Since most of them are new staff, we kept them busy by giving them a tour and introductions around the office, orientation to our project, showing them how to open their new work email, and the like. During these moments, I learned that half of my staff has no idea how to operate a computer. Good thing to know, I guess.

The team leaders took advantage of the time to do some planning with their individual teams, and I also did some planning with them. But there was still a good chunk of time when they were patiently waiting for the day to pass, waiting until the glitch was resolved and we could get on with our plans.

So they raided our bookshelf. I've amassed a humble collection of manuals and texts on quality development programming, social stuff and planning stuff.

Our junior team member is a 25 year old boy who looks 15. He just graduated from university and this is his first job. He's bright as a star and sharp as a pin, full of energy but also a quiet listener. He went to the shelf and found a manual for quality programming - it might be considered "the" textbook for my organisation. It's also a basis for all the work we're doing, although we've been giving the soundbites instead of burdening the staff with heavy-laden academic humble jumble. Especially since the manual is in English and my team speaks mostly Arabic.

But this boy, he sat down at a desk, opened the book, and cracked his notebook. Starting with the preface, he began to take detailed notes. For about an hour he pored over the book.

Then he called his supervisor over and started showing him what he was learning. The two of them studied the manual for another half an hour. Then they asked me if they could take it back to their field office with them. I said it was my only copy, but if they'd like I can print it out for them. They said yes and practically jumped for the printer. As soon as it was printing they handed me a USB flash drive and instructed me to give them a copy.

For the rest of the afternoon, they kept studying.

I love the motivation!

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