Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The home of meetings

If there is a place that there are so many meetings and if you are not careful you'll end up attending a meeting each day of the month and forget about the real work  that place is Dadaab a record 19 coordination meeting at the camp level in the monthly calendar for the camp I work in and meetings at the office,reviews,coordination at DMO and the boss who wants to always hold meetings because I'm assuming they are too lazy to read reports and want to hear from you or maybe I'm this awesome story teller and make work seem fun so its easy to listen to me(highly unlikely) most of the time during this meetings I'm wondering why are we wasting time fighting about un-met targets and 50% of the time we spend talking to each other could have been spent atleast covering the gaps.

They aren't a total waste of time though and I have made some really good friends and learnt a lot  out of them,drank a lot of free sodas,teas and came  up with this summary of the kind of people who come for meetings :-) :-)

The show offs:These are those people who'll come with a 10 page type up just to present updates at the monthly inter-agency and bore all of us to death,by the time they finish nobody has a question because we all got lost somewhere or they have spent too much time and nobody want to ask any question lest they go into another long explanation.

Those who'll have a question to everything and they are mostly from a certain agency X otherwise known as the refugee agency and they'll stress you on issues like how many minorities and PLWDS have you targeted not that they'll remember once you leave the meeting

Then there are those who have to talk about places they have been for example when I was in Djibouti we did a very successful village savings and loans project,I just came from Garowe,so most of us don't care just tell us how to do better program from the lessons you have learnt and we are happy.

The legends(according to me):In some meetings you meet some of the best programmers ever and they make you realise how little you know, but they are the ones who most of the time will listen to all your stories and then finally give their input and everyone is like yes we love you point of view why because they know this things(and do not feel the need to show off) case in point Zulu protection guy for agency X dude contributed to the sphere handbook on protection and to me this is a very BIG deal.

 Those who light up meetings:Then there are those who are the life of meetings they make us laugh and make the most boring of meetings fun and those who just come in and make you happy by simply being there.Writing you crazy texts(like that dude seated next to you is hot please copy his number from the attendance list-which I never do,stop pretending to be listening............) and equally crazy notes and supporting everything you say of-course me supporting them if the need arises.

 The brief people/those who never speak:Those who show up for meeting unprepared and therefore when its their time to update they give a one liner-All activities are ongoing and are on schedule(I love this people so much) all of us should borrow a leaf and forget about being show offs.
Then those who never say a word because they are sitting in for someone and just came in to ensure they are represented and to carry home their action points(a few times I have sat in some meetings for people and it was awkward you have no idea whats being discussed so you pretend to be writing just in case someone feels the need to ask you questions they see you are busy taking notes-this trick works all the time)

and of course there is  me professional note taker and rapporteur par excellence the number of times I have taken minutes and have had to write workshop reports too many and I must say its the most boring thing to do,everyone else has forgotten about the meeting/workshop and you are here struggling writing their thoughts but I look at all the reports so far and I'm thinking I have some serious skills but I'm too old to be doing this so next time I'll forget so many action points and discussions mpaka no one will let me write minutes/workshop reports for them again and I'll jut be going for this many meetings to talk and wait for the reports/minutes to see if my thoughts/updates were captured must be a happy feeling for all these peeps whose work is just to read and 'edit' reports.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


For the longest time ever I have wanted to go to Somalia,finally prayer has been answered  and I'm going in early December(Me doing my happy dance :-) :-) ).But so much to do before then top on the list get over and done with this research thing for school(there are days I sit and wonder why I decided to study agriculture and rural development(too complicated for me) when I could have other far simpler courses and reduced the time I spend on Google looking up -sustainable agriculture solutions for arid and semi-arid areas,livestock production to make pastoralists rich,changes in policy to make pastoralism in Northern Kenya viable source of income for the pastoralists and such topics very interesting to read but putting them into one idea and convincing some old guys read lecturers that this is good enough to earn my degree is another story and saddest part(for now,I'm sure will be what makes me proudest when I graduate) is that this is no theoretical research you have to either do some farming or rear livestock!!!!!,finalise the remaining activities in the current project at work,go to Kambioss,attend inter agencies for all camps(highly unlikely but its good to dream),take pictures of the watch tower and many other things.................and all this will be done InshaAllah.

Normally Somalia is very nice and interesting until you tell people that you are going and will be based in Somalia 100%............Then the horror stories begin to roll in picture this a colleague(the security focal point) sits with me at lunch and goes like I hear you are moving to Somalia kwani you don't know how insecure that place is,just the other day the al-shabab be-headed two people in that region you are going!!! seriously show some support but also there are people who tell you the most encouraging things like that place is rural and with a lot of Somali Sijui's(Kenyan Somali) so its not so bad,buy big hijabs this mambos of wearing buibuis and chunis ends here :-)

There is no way I'm going to depend on hear say so I have done my research on the region I'm going to and its the second biggest 'city' after Mogadishu,downloaded a map of Somalia with accessibility levels and things don't look so bad and of course for me I have to visit Mogadishu  InshaAllah so this particular research covered Mogadishu also,its marked as 10-20% accessible and people work and live here surely 45% accessible can't be too bad.

The countdown to Somalia is on and to say I'm excited will be an understatement all relevant documents on Somalia and the project will be read and conversations with people who have been there will be had in preparation to kick ass on this new assignment.