Friday, May 5, 2017

Shhh! Meeting in progress

Story of my life
'African time' is real  but more-so in this town I live in, we have embraced the concept and taken it to new levels, because people do not get impatient when others are late to a meeting or an event, we have come-up with things to do as we wait for the late-comers to show up; people carry their computers so as to not waste time,spend time on their phones and others like me come sit and stare into space/walls waiting for the meeting/events to start.

Is it just me or does everyone else love/prefer meetings that have food, no? people want time-saving, efficient meetings,well I want all that also, but a cup of tea has never hurt anyone, call me greedy but the meetings I love the most are the ones that have food, that's why I fondly remember PA committee meetings because, they were always mostly held at the student's mess and we would have tea and chaps(free tea and chaps), when tea and chapatis at the mess were such a luxury.

A while back I wrote this post about meetings and I figure 3 years is enough time for an update :-) and reading the post I thought, wait, what! why am I still note-taker instead of being legend 😀😀😀.

Types of people who attend Garowe meetings.

The I rather be at the office ones

These are the people who start their computers as soon as they are seated and actually work,how do you know they are working? they have no ear-phones on,they do not ask for the wi-fi's password and when you look at their faces they actually look absorbed into what -ever it is their are looking at on their computers.

cause of a lot sleepless nights and tears sometimes.
The meetings that has the most of these people are those that require people to make presentations and because apparently I am not the only person who sometimes doesn't fully read invites to meetings a lot of these people only realise the meeting requires a presentation two minutes before they come in and there is no way the truth will work, so what do they do? pray they are last in the list of presenters and work on their presentation while every-one talks/presents.

The I will catch-up with all my friends/on-line accounts I love.

Worse than the 'I would rather be at the office ones' are those who come with sole intention of catching up with their friends and all the on-line accounts they follow, as soon as they walk in the first thing they ask for is the wi-fi password and they will spend 90% of their time scrolling through their phones.What kind of disrespect is this! I understand those who are catching up on work because God knows sometimes deadlines!!! but scrolling through your phone, yaani, if I had power I will have this people to kneel down and raise their hands up high as punishment.

The Unprepared

A lot of times meeting invites are sent to the head of office right? and sometimes said person is too busy and would only tell you about it, 10 minutes to the meeting time and when you look at the agenda, you see agency updates; time allocated 15 minutes per agency and this when panic hits you (at-least sometimes I panic because 15 minutes is a lot of time). My to go to plan always is to write everything down and think about what I want to say and arrive 'early' and refine my list at the meeting venue because people are always late.

But there are people who actually come and say I have no update but would have the relevant person send you the updates! and I am sure every else thinks then why did you come, oh wait we know why? the all important attendance sheet.

The Over-prepared folks aka the Dr Sheldon Lee Coopers

These people I have grown to love,because listening to them is a joy,no stammers,no missing information,they throw in a story................I think they practiced everything the previous evening and when it is time to talk about way forward, you would think they are some text-book and most of them are the people who will put their phones away and listen to every one else.

The ones who come to settle fights/shame their 'enemies'

Sometimes there are those who come to shame their 'enemies', what I don't know is wether it is intentional or it is as a result of comments made by either of them but they sure make my heart laugh because I am weird weird person.

One fight I remember because it was so unexpected is there was this one time someone was giving updates for the agency they work for and they say something like and we are targeting 50 villages(which is a lot of villages) and this other person goes 'what do you mean 50 villages,you guys are targeting 10 households per village and then you come here and talk about 50 villages!!

The 'Field staff'

:-) :-)
There are these people who tend to think they are more 'field' than anyone else and 99% of the time they are the unprepared folk and so before saying 'I will tell the relevant person to send updates' they tell the story of village X, and normally their village of choice is a far to reach village that chances are nobody can argue with what they talk about and they say things like 'and then the village elder told me we are tired of all these white paper (questionnaires)', when will help come' or 'and the village elder said that he fears these shallow wells will turn into the grave of his community.

I will tell you why I think this is fiction(but I could be wrong),village elders are some of the most optimistic people you will meet.You ask them things like what will happen if the rains fail and they tell you we trust Allah's providence and these are people who have lost so much,so I figure them talking about shallow wells being graves can be a twisted truth but what do I know

The big boys

Who are the big-boys? you ask, I will tell how to identify them; they always have some item on, with their logos (caps,note-books,staff ID neck strap), if they are invited to a meeting,the meeting does not start before they arrive,good thing is they are relatively good time-keepers, a lot of people want to network with them and when they give their updates,no one even thinks to ask them questions like, what do you mean you drought response is planned to reach 500,000HHs because we all know they call the shots and can/will reach whatever big numbers they say.What they think of us and our small numbers is what I would love to know.And if they host a meeting they are snack and tea kings/queens 💪💪.

The Somali Nationalists 

They give their updates in Somali, speak Somali all through, woe unto the people who struggle with Somali if they are the meeting chair because they will chair the meeting in Somali and it's not that they can't speak English, they just prefer to speak their national language.These people I low-key do not like them.I however love love the education cluster lead because she is the best kind of nationalist, who was a teacher before the civil war and always tells this story about the day the civil war broke and she was in class teaching and how sad she is education as a sector is not considered life-saving, because of which, two generation of Somalis do not have an education.

The Talk early and talk often ones(Lean In)

In addition to note-taker I think I fall into this category. All the female at the work-place books I have read give one piece of advice consistently; during meetings, talk early and talk often and I am officially practicing what I have been reading but I am wise enough to know when to keep quite and listen.

I am thinking people are attending better and more fun meetings than the ones I go to,so what kind of attendees come for those meetings? I would love to know. 

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