Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas is coming....but not snow!

It was a busy week at work. Dispute Resolution Foundation had it's Annual General Meeting on December 11th. An occassion which provided the opportunity for the organisation to celebrate its many achievements of the last year. As is typical in Jamaica for most business events, it was quite formal but that did not diminish the enthusiasm with which the Board voiced recognition and appreciation for what the agency and the staff have contributed to Jamaican justice over the year. The Representative from the Ministry of Justice spoke very highly of the organisation and confirmed the Ministry's commitment to a partnership with DRF for the future. For an agency with less than 35 paid staff, the number of people served through the mediation, training and youth services is very impressive.

None of which seems to translate into security of funding in these difficult economic times. The part of my week that was not given to helping prepare for the AGM was devoted to scouring through Foundation websites looking for potential funding sources to sustain and expand the Youth Programme, writing and re-writing proposals to fit potential funding sources and challenging my creativity to add components to the Youth programme that will be of value but will also allow it to be considered for new sources of funding.

That being said, things are winding down as Christmas approaches. Schools will close on Dec 16th and the number of youth being suspended through the last two weeks (exam weeks) has been smaller. Conversations in the office have included discussions about the best fruit cakes, Christmas shopping and food and toy drives for the Garrison communities.

Decorations are everywhere with brightly adorned palm trees all through the city. And another of those dichotomies...palm trees and inflatable snow globes ???

On Dec 23rd three of the Kingston CUSO-VSO volunteer contingent will head home for Christmas and I am sad to say only one will return. Kingston is a challenging environment for international development volunteers and it has taken its toll on one of my colleagues. The other has stresses that do not pertain to Jamaica but are reflective of the difficult world many Canadians deal with - family residing in unsettled parts of the world that are subject to increased terrorism and fundamentalism. He carries great responsibility for a young man in his twenties and even so has devoted months and energy to Jamaica and others who are struggling.
My best wishes go with both these wonderful people.

I am excited and distracted by the imminent arrival of Haley and Tasha! I will leave work on December 16th and head to Montego Bay to pick the girls up at the airport. From there who knows....plans are few and Christmas celebrations in the sun will be something we create together!

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