Sunday, January 12, 2014

A good day, a great night

The other night, my two roommates and I decided it would be good at the end of each day to reflect on one good thing that had happened during the day. That had been a particularly bad day for me, and I struggled to come up with something. But I didn't have that problem last night, as we had the most wonderful day.

Instead of doing a little Christmas party for staff, we decided to hold off and make it a new year's celebration. We asked each of the teams to prepare some sort of activity or performance to entertain the whole team. I had no idea what to expect. I'd been asking various teams throughout the week how their planning was going, and it wasn't until Thursday that I started to see groups sneak off to rehearse.

We were absolutely blown away. Our Public Health Promotion team, which consists of about 40 odd people including volunteers, rocked up in matching outfits. They did a fabulous dance number, which included a surprise element of a fire dancer!! One of the team hadn't been able to do any fire dancing since the typhoon hit, and today was his return to performing and it was just incredible. I almost got a bit teary watching them (ok, I did actually tear up).
The next team up was a composition of our Public Health Engineers, Monitoring & Accountability and Gender teams. They also did a dance number, which while not as involved as the PHPs was a lot of fun and full of humour. They also ran a couple of games which brought a lot of laughs.
Next on stage were Finance, I.T, H.R, and Logistics. They started with a lovely rendition of We are the World, which was rather demure, and then launched into a Filipino song which involved the guys rolling their shirts up and our big Kenyan loggie donning a tutu and busting out some serious dance moves. Terrific!

After the lunch break, Jane and I surprised everyone with the first real performance of Spudnik this deployment. We changed the words of Eight Days a Week to apply to the Tacloban team which was met with lots of laughs. Thankfully we had an encore prepared: we pulled out the big guns by performing a Filipino song called Pusong Bato (in Tagalog) and frankly I don't think I've ever been met with such cheers before. It was so fun! But you know, we're rockstars so we're used to the adoration....

Our Emergency Food Security and Vulnerable Livelihoods team then staged an epic five station series of games, which provided a lot of laughter and squealing. One of the tasks was to come up with a team chant, and one of our distribution volunteers, a very sweet girl who's probably only 18 and is absolutely tiny, busted out this epic rap with some sweet dance moves and brought the house down.

We ending up awarding the prize for the best team (which was a meal out for the team) to the PHPs - every single one of them participated with enthusiasm and high spirits and they'd obviously put a lot of thought into the performance. The day ended with another activity from the PHP team, which was a dance along to this strange video of the song Funky Town, with this weird dancing alien. Hilarious.

And so the afternoon wound down, and some of us had to do a little bit of work. At about 6:30pm we decided it was beer o'clock, and we were just expecting a very quite evening. It was Jane's last night and the weather has been so bad the past few days that we didn't feel like going out, so we just went to the restaurant in the hotel as usual. There was a woman playing guitar and singing (she's very talented) and as the night wore on, more and more of us got up and sung with her, until eventually, she wasn't singing at all and it was just one person after another coming up and singing...with varying degrees of tunefulness! At one point some people in branded jackets came in, and we indicated that they should sing. Somehow the man who was obviously most senior found out Jane was leaving, jumped up on stage and launched into Leaving On A Jetplane (which had already been sung once or twice before...). I found out half way through his performance that he's actually a Senator!!

It was a night full of laughter, and I'm a bit hoarse this morning after all the singing. Those low key nights that unexpectedly turn into something wonderful are always the most memorable. We'll miss Jane terribly, but I'm glad we were able to send her off with a bang!

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