Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's in the bag?!

As I communicate and interact with more people, particularly as part of my job, I seek out and absorb a lot of information.  At the moment, I'm in a situation where I have to reach out to collect information, but at the same time, am faced with a reluctance on the other side to provide it.  This is a situation sometimes found at clients, but is a bit of a different scenario here.

To explain the scenario, the person I was talking to at the time mentioned a Jamaican phrase that goes something like "don't buy a pus in a bag".  Meaning, if someone tries to sell you a bag saying there's a cat, you don't just buy the bag trusting that there's a cat inside.  So you don't think I'm making it up, I present: http://wisejamaican.financiallysmartonline.com/2009/03/nuh-buy-puss-eena-bag/

His premise was that Jamaicans who go by this phrase are skeptical.  Therefore, if someone's going to be asking for something, he should be able to demonstrate why he's asking for it, and what the impact or result will be.  This sort of concept is fairly standard in my typical line of work, but it's something people might forget as we selfishly run through our duties to try and get our own work done.

Being a CUSO-VSO volunteer, there's advantages and disadvantages.  For one, we get an objective view point and can be perceived as unbiased.  This can be great, especially if we have to deal with two sides that don't meet eye-to-eye.  On the other hand, we are interacting with people with whom we have no prior experiences with.  This in itself also has its advantages and disadvantages.  However, in this case that I'm mentioning, it highlights the importance of building up the trust, credibility, and relationship.  Of course, adding cultural differences, and age differences (this one's for me specifically, as I'm the youngest one by far of the volunteers), serves to compound the importance of and effort required for developing said relationships.  Once you build that trust, credibility and proper working relationship, it makes progress and interaction that much easier.

I have a tendency to think of the most efficient way to complete a task.  The quickest path from point A to B.  I suppose all in all, more than anything else, this is a bit of a reminder for myself:  before taking on any project or work, get to know who you're dealing with.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Half-way there

This week is nearing the half-way mark of my placement (half-way point will be January 15, 2011).  It's hard to believe, but pretty soon, I'll be wrapping up.  Work has gotten into full swing with renewed energy in the new year.  We are going to try and promote the use of a network intranet, which will be challenging yet exciting.  As for the city life in Kingston, I'm feeling settled in.  All the hustle and bustle of the city - people in your face to take their bus, buy their stuff - it's become like ambient noise.

For the new year, I've also gotten some personal renewed energy.  I feel like I should be more productive, and mentally engaged with the world around me.  Starting in late 2010, I've been reading more about news, both locally and internationally, as well as getting into some of the books that I've brought here.  Although I don't have resolutions per se, this 'productivity' I suppose translates into being more focused, as I try to be each year.  Perhaps as close as I will get to making a resolution, is that I'd like to learn to swim while here in Jamaica.  I'm here on an island anyways!  Blue lagoon here I come.

Annnnd I haven't posted pictures in a while, so for the interesting technique in how I made my rice with no rice cooker, here it is!  Bowl, in a pot (I cover it to steam, but for picture purposes, the lid has been taken off).  This time in particular, I was lazy so I threw in some leftovers to be heated up as well.

Monday, January 3, 2011

and a Happy New Year

After a week 'vacation' in the cold stretches of Canada, I'm back in Jamaica.  To me, it was an irreplaceable holiday, despite being on the plane and on the road for both Christmas Day and New Years'.  Although a part of me wonders what the rest of the Christmas break would have been like if I stayed in Jamaica, if I had the choice, I would still do it again.  Except maybe I'll consider flying out of Kingston instead of Montego Bay - the 4 hour drive each way almost doubles the travel time.

Today was the first day back at work; it was a slow start as expected, but all cylinders will be firing soon enough for the next few months because that's all the time I have left here, and I plan to make the most of it!

But first, I think I need a bit of rest, no need to rush.