Thursday, September 30, 2010
Big birthday wishes to one of the greatest flatmates of all time, a wonderful travel buddy, and a woman who as you all would know, is a fabulous actress! Hope you have a good one Yazza! ;-)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I thought this morning would be like every other morning when I got to the office. Go to my desk, open up my laptop, check the emails etc. And yes, there has been all of that, but there was an extra step between getting to my desk and opening my laptop. There was a bucket sitting on top of my laptop this morning. A bright red bucket. The assistants to the Rep and Deputy Rep looked at me in confusion. "Why is there a bucket on your laptop?" Because I have a bud who I asked to buy me a bucket and he did! Regular readers would know of my history with buckets, and it would appear that they are becoming the new towels - never leave home without one! :-)
Not long after this the man who I share an office with turned to me and told me he was very jealous of my typing speed. "I'm getting old now, my fingers don't keep up with my brain." I told him that he wasn't old, and he pointed out his grey hair. I told him that I have some grey hairs too, and he said, "ah, but you are still very young, you must be only 35." "35?! I'm only 28!" "But you are very tall, it makes you look more distinguished, this is why I thought you were 35." Nice save...
Saturday, September 25, 2010
With the large number of surge staff that have come in from other offices, and through stand-by partners like RedR Australia, the offices of staff on leave have been taken over. One of these staff is coming back on Monday and an eviction notice was placed on his computer telling the people in there that they'd have to find somewhere else. One of these people is a senior manager, and my boss came in today and said, "You're going to be displaced. D needs to sit here." "No problem!" I said with a smile as she rushed back out the door and happily started packing up my meagre belongings.
So now I have a nice big (well, normal sized) desk that I can spread out all my papers on. I also have a view:
The building next door has four of these birds as pets/lawn dressing. I'm not entirely sure what they are yet; cranes and storks have been thrown out as possible options. I heard a story of the head honcho of one of the companies next door. In true Miranda Priestly style, when his driver picks him up in the morning, the driver sends a text to the guard to make sure the gate will be opened at the right moment. The guard then informs the staff that he's on the way, so they can close down facebook and look like they're busy. Apparently someone once parked in this guy's parking spot...he didn't come back to work again. Ever.
But the man has given me something to gaze out the window at!
Really, it's just work work work. I've been doing fun stuff like briefing notes for donors and updating proposals and trying to figure out some money stuff. So there's not much to write home about.
This morning I saw this video - the song brings back two separate memories, both which make me crack up. The first of those memories involves my friend Julie (hi Julz!) coming back from Europe years ago raving on about a particular song that had been big on the charts. She couldn't remember the name, all she knew was the "Maiahah heeeeeeeeee, maiahah hooooooooo, maiahah haaaaaaaaaaa, maiahah ha ha" bit and proceeded to sing that repeatedly for the next few hours. This was followed up a good year later by the purchase of a mix cd in Spain to accompany a road trip. When the ole "maiahahs" starting blasting out of the stereo I cracked up, and couldn't believe I'd finally found the song Julie had been talking about. So, the song brings back memories of good friends and the beautiful east coast of Spain.
Right, so the video...
First of all, that is one massive marching band!! I would've loved to have been in a marching band at school, but unfortunately ours were of the sit down variety. Secondly, if you have absolutely no idea what this is all about, you might want to watch this:
Happy Saturday! :-)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
"This is our job. We can save the lives of thousands of children."
I often play down what my job is when I'm asked by people outside of the humanitarian sector, mostly because I'm not out there on the front line physically saving lives, partly because it's the Australian way. But every so often, I realise how important each person in this line of work is to saving lives. I don't ever want to over-estimate my own significance, but in this position I'm responsible for bringing in more funding. The funding that will allow the engineers to provide water, the doctors to vaccinate children, the teachers to help children continue their education. It's not the sexiest of jobs; I sit at a desk all day, but I can't deny that I'm doing something important.
I was just in a briefing for a very senior manager who has come from HQ. Around the table were people from Pakistan, Romania, Japan, Australia, Spain, Guinea, the US, Kenya and a host of other nationalities. These staff represented all of the sections in the office, from child protection to finance, from health to HR, and everything in between. And every person who works in those departments is working to save the lives of children. In whatever small or large way, we all contribute. This senior manager ended the meeting by reinforcing that this is our job. Together we can save the lives of thousands of children.
And that's a powerful thing to be reminded of.
Monday, September 20, 2010
This whole story reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons, where Bart adopts what he thinks are bird eggs and they turn out to be lizards, which are apparently a threat to the local bird life and should be killed. Bart, in desperation, throws them off a building to set them free, and in a lucky coincidence, they happen to have little wings and safely float down to the ground. The lizards proceed to wipe out the pesky pidgeon problem and Bart is lauded a hero. Lisa brings up the point that Springfield will be infested with lizards rather than pigeons, but is reassured that if that becomes a problem, they'll send in Chinese needle snakes, and if they become a problem, snake-eating gorillas. And then "when wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death."
Sounds familiar...what seemed like an utterly insane idea in the Simpsons has been played out in real life - which begs the question, what should be sent in to stop the opossums?
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I haven't been to "the field" yet. I don't know if or when I'll get out to see our response, so my interactions with what has actually happened in Pakistan are from television reports and the pictures I've seen. I've just been going through a folder of photos taken by a professional photographer and there are truly some heartbreaking images. There is a tiny baby, so small that the oxygen mask he needs covers his entire head; a young girl covering her ears as her baby sibling cries next to her; a mother who looks to have fallen asleep from exhaustion next to her baby, a fan still clasped in her hand. But there are images of hope; children with big smiles attending temporary schools or participating in recreational activities, young kids receiving vaccinations (and looking very unhappy about it), pregnant women being examined by lady health workers, and people of all ages retreiving clean water from hand pumps.
While my heart is a bit more broken from seeing pictures of such suffering, it starts to repair when I see the good that is being done. I'm not in the field delivering the hygiene messages that can reduce infant mortality by 20%, I'm not reuniting missing children with their families. But I am here to hopefully raise more funding for this important work to continue
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Until yesterday, every evening when I went to get into bed I would find that it had been made in a peculiar way - the blanket would be underneath the sheet. Granted, it's not a scratchy blanket, it's one of those faux velvet jobs, but it's still a strange practice in my opinion (particularly when you think that sheets get washed a lot more often than blankets). So every night, I would rip off the ugly bedspread, and flip the sheet and the blanket over, so that the sheet was on the bottom. I figured if the guy coming into to make the bed saw that I had changed the entire construction of sheet and blanket, he would realise that I was perhaps a bit particular about that kind of thing. But no, that wasn't the case.
But last night, as I went to crawl into bed, I was delighted to find something new. The blanket was sandwiched between two sheets!! I really can't understand the logic behind that, but it sure beats having to unmake and re-make the bed every night. I can't wait to see what I'll come home to today!!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
- $1 – the price of 14 sachets of oral rehydration salts, which mixed with safe water, help children combat dehydration and diarrhoea.
- $3 buys 50 5ml auto-disable syringes, so that 50 children can be immunized with safe equipment.
- $5 provides one long-lasting insecticidal mosquito net, protecting a family from malaria.
- $20 can provide 20 packets of high-energy biscuits, specially developed for malnourished children.
- $110 can provide 10 families with one basic family water kit each, including water containers, buckets, soap and water purification tablets.
- $120 can provide 600 doses of measles vaccine, protecting children from this deadly disease.
- $200 can buy one School-in-a-Box kit, a ready-made educational solution, packed in a lockable metal box, containing everything a teacher will need for 40 children.
Of course that's not to say that if you give $200 that your donation WILL be used to buy a school-in-a-box kit, but it definitely helps put into perspective what a small amount of money can do. If you haven't already dug into your pockets to help assist the people affected by the floods in Pakistan, re-read through the list above and see what you can afford. As long as you give to a reputable organisation, every dollar counts.
Monday, September 13, 2010
So this brought a smile to my otherwise grim morning...
Saturday, September 11, 2010
There's a desk and a big cupboard which perfectly fits my backpack on the top shelf. The bathroom is perfect for stringing washing over the bathtub. And then there's the tv with lots of Indian channels and a good size bar fridge underneath, which is helpfully cooling my camembert cheese and dark orange chocolate.
There's a lovely big window that lets in nice light that I can actually open because it has a screen. I think I'll be happy here.
And from my happy little home, may I wish everyone out there Eid Mubarak!! All of the staff here are looking much less hungry and lethargic now that Ramadan is over for another year.