Me:You know I'm still very new in this place why do these people make me work while I'm on leave
Mresh: Kwani you'll be new mpaka when you have been there for six months.
Mresh always giving me reality checks and it finally sinks in yes I'm old here 6 months!!!! there are guys who just joined those are the truly new ones :-) :-)
Six months equals half a year if someone had a baby when I joined(May) then baby will be sitting and officially starting on weaning then I'm truly old here but relatively 'new' considering I came from somewhere where I had been for four years and I know their theory of change,how many countries they work in,when it was started by heart............and I still refer to them as us.
I have learnt so many new things in these six months that I have been 'new' and still haven't gotten around to saying us when speaking about the place I work (some serious lack of loyalty here)
Beneficiaries are now called persons of concern and these people are the most difficult to deal with.First of all so many committees and leadership structure(over all camp leadership,youth leadership,section leaders,block leaders,minority leaders,disability leaders,livelihoods committee........) community sensitization and beneficiary selection is a NIGHTMARE.All of them have vested interests and I also have who I think should benefit based on the criteria hence my perpetual conflict with these guys.They keep on calling my boss to tell him this girl you have working here doesn't want to work with us and my boss always telling me you know these camp leaders are powerful and you must work with them(no ways). If I have a say about this the fights have just began and they'll continue until we agree on only the deserving people benefiting(95% and 5% the people they suggest)-Prayers needed.
Protection is the key word here.Some how before I came to Dadaab I only knew about child protection and I never thought its anything major but I have learnt that all we do is some sort of protection and yes livelihoods support is a protection tool and now I know why IRC does Women protection and empowerment as one initially I thought how the hell can you do women protection and empowerment as one project especially amongst the pastoralists.You empower women you expose them to risk of violence at home due to issues of resource control but I have learnt livelihoods is a protection tool and protection is much more than child protection.Very important lesson.
To listen and ask questions.Microfinance support looks and sounds very easy but its super complicated to implement so over and above reading all the implementation guidelines that exist ask people who have done it before and you'll be surprised at how much easier it is to listen and laugh at crazy implementation jokes than it is reading implementation guides but also read it makes you do an awesome job if you add a bit of what is in the very many guides and a bit of all the lessons learnt from previous implementations.
That work is a battle field.There are 2 kinds of wars one is between us(working on my loyalty) and other agencies we have to do better than them,be more visible,the beneficairies should speak highly of us(the most up hill task to do) and generally be the best.This is a war I'm ready to fight.The second war is internal wars about who controls what,who goes where, one that I cannot truly engage in as it makes no sense how do you 'fight' your family.So I have resorted to sitting at my desk and minding my business and watch all these as it goes on.No fighting back its just not worth it(maybe this is me fighting back)
That you can be very happy with very little thanks to my very noisy neighbor for making Dadaab one big party and when I'm too lazy to go for their very many eating out or something with them they always bring me food these girls are the bestest neighbors ever and they come and tell me how it went and show me pictures :-) :-) and most importantly they have taught me to have a sense of adventure and they are trying to get me out my shyness.
I want to go to Somalia really I do and somehow, someday InshaAllah I'll go and visit Hamar (Mogadishu) that the PoCs I hang out with everyday speak so highly off.