Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Other Projects

Wednesday 27th August

This week I have been deliberately catching up on projects outside of the hospital. Links with schools, church etc. all merit attention and usually I find very little time to devote to them. I am attempting to redefine my role at the hospital and am effectively taking a bit of a break from the institution. In fact I am finding it more productive to work at Homecraft on my computer – so in practice I am far from abandoning the hospital work – even though I am not seen around much.

I found that I had a lot to talk to Fr. Maambo about in respect of the link between Our lady of the Wayside and St. Gregory's church communities. A discussion with Best – one of the guys we were able to sponsor last year – showed that completion of school isn't necessarily a job completed. He is trying to get to college to study law, but a fee to apply and transport to Lusaka (about £15 in total) were going to prevent him applying this year. He said he could do 'piece work' to earn the money for his college fees (though I suspect he would still fall short without a little sponsorship). Fr. Maambo agreed that such cases also need to be considered for some sponsorship. The other guys that were sponsored are struggling to find jobs and some might need to resit their exams to improve their grades. We talked about developing the link and a number of other things and I hope to attend mass and the Parish council meeting on 14th September.

I also had a chance to catch up with Mr. Meheritona from St. Vincent's School and enjoyed nsima and later a couple of Mosis with Mr. Chaambwa from Monze Basic. Mr Chaambwa also told me a little of the history of three neighbouring schools – his own established for the 'White' Community, another for the 'Non;white / coloureds' and a third for local 'Black' Zambians. It made me realise that the British too imposed a form of apartheid in their colonies.

Last night I was joined by one of the security guards as I did a bit of star-gazing. Power was off from very early in the morning – I woke before 5 am to find it absent – until about 19 hrs, soon vanished again till about 21.30. The milky way here is very clear as a thin cloud stretching across the sky – it is no wonder that it is said that there are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on earth. And to think we have only fully explored (well almost!) one small planet revolving around one of those grains! Yet some still say there is no God!

Waiting for a meeting with the Hospital's senior managers today, I looked at the flower borders outside the administration block. Many of the flowers are wilting through lack of water – I wondered whether when they were planted their long term survival was seriously considered and planned for. As I continued to look I noticed additional plants – once spotted I noticed more of that type. I realised that every time I looked I learnt more. I believe that I can help at the hospital best by looking at strategic issues – long term planning. My experience has allowed me to discover a lot of things and perhaps I will notice much, that to those, glancing for the first time, will be missed. The introduction of new technology and computerisation of organisations in the UK is something that has taken place over perhaps 20 – 30 years and most of that time I have been involved with the emerging systems. Zambia is on a fast track! When I came in 2003 there were very few computers at the hospital (and no mobiles) – now I wouldn't be surprised if there are not close on 100 computers, if you include personal laptops sometimes used (and everyone seems to ave at least one mobile!).

I am hoping that I can be of use helping managers to cope with and exploit the rapid changes that are taking place, and will continue to happen at enormous speed ,over the next few years.

Best wishes


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