Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back to Work

This week started bright and early Monday morning for the first week of work of the new year. As I got organised to leave I noticed a definite lack of traffic and apparently no buses, so headed out on foot to discover the cause - overnight the road had been closed for construction! There will be no bus for the next month or more, so an additional walk has been added to my journey to work.
It was a very busy week at work with a varied range of tasks (re-structuring the approach to the Youth Programme in Kingston, coaching the Manager, writing funding proposals and 'ask' letters, completing a summary report on the organisational capacity for DRF) and at the end of the week it felt as if it had been a productive week. The environment and context now feel very familiar, I am comfortable asking almost any question of my co-workers and colleagues (some topics will be forever taboo), my ability to contribute feels as if it has increased and I understand almost all the conversations in patois as my co-workers joke around at the end of the day! It was good to be back at work.

Watching the road construction progress through the week has been interesting. The work is moving quickly and efficiently. The crew works vigourously and for long hours and what is most notable is that there is a constant stream of good-hearted banter amongst the workers. They are loud and talkative with each other, with those passing by and with the motorists that are held up by the work. There is always a "good morning" for me as I walk past on my way to work, and "Everything alright?" as I return at night. It has added a pleasant element to my day!

As the other volunteers returned from holiday visits to Canada (complaining vosciforously about the cold!) there have been indignant discussions about the proroguing of parliament yet again, dismay at the apparent failure of the system, and wonder at the silence from those who, on behalf of Canadian citizens, are supposed to vigourously oppose the sitting (or apparently not sitting) government.

In contrast here the Jamaican Opposition rallied quickly and loudly to hold the Government accountable for a set of tax increases that were introduced and scheduled to be implemented without House debate. Despite the Christmas holidays debate had to be scheduled and occurred, and citizen protests, thankfully peaceful, were organised and effected in very short order. It was exciting to see passion about and involvement in the political process. Does this illustrate another dichotomy? The effective use of the political process in a place where it is commonly understood that both political parties are intimitely connected to corruption and violent, criminal elements?

Be it energy on the job at the road construction or engagement in the polictical process, there's a lot of vitality and passion under that "no problem Mon" Jamaican exterior!

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