Monday, 19 November 2012

A little interlude happened

Well I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since I last posted! No excuses, but I have been busy.

First, there was the dreaded PC failure! Actually the power lead succumbed to the wear and tear of 2 Indian monsoons, a Nigerian rainy season, power surges, dust and all the other hazards of a volunteer’s life on the road. With the able assistance of one of my work colleagues we scoured Abuja for a replacement ASUS power lead, but none was to be found with the correct Voltage and Ampage. I ended up getting a friend to ship one from the UK for me along with a new battery, just in case it had blown as well. Exorbitant courier costs paid they arrived and I plugged in. My initial relief at seeing it charge was very soon knock flat by the realisation that it was residual charge on the new battery not new charge. Yes something more significant was wrong inside the netbook. I then proceeded to copy off my drive as much as I could before the battery completely emptied. Thank goodness for a large external drive. Needless to say I didn’t quite manage to get everything copied before it died completely.

Secondly, work has been incredibly busy. Yes I constantly describe this volunteer placement as more like having a real, full time, job. I have deadlines, a constant workload which luckily is interesting and worthwhile. We are constantly writing funding proposals which have strict submission deadlines, we have scheduled training classes for paying clients and our project work. On top of this I have conducted a competency assessment of all staff in Abuja, Sokoto and Bauchi offices in respect of IT, OD (Organisational Development) and management skills. It is a busy office, not one where people go to sleep as I have heard about other placements. My colleagues work long hours, outside of normal office hours, travel extensively and are a great team. I’m not painting a rosy picture it really is like that. Yes, they are going through a difficult spell as are many NGOs with money being very tight and new funding being difficult to get – the odds of a successful funding application? I dread to try and quantify, but a guestimate is it is less than 1 in 1000.

In addition to this I have been doing some work for VSO Nigeria as well – the first piece was assessing a request from one of their partners for assistance with collecting success stories from their projects. Unfortunately I didn’t end up doing this piece of work as it required too much time away from my placement which was not feasible. Then I helped out by providing some mentoring and guidance to a staff member writing a funding proposal. Although that particular proposal did not receive funding, I was asked to do the same with a second submission for which news is still awaited.

Finally on the work front, I have picked up a bit of desk based work from home which is great because it brings in much needed funds to me for when I get back to the UK.

But the time has not been all work and no play! so to wet your appetite

  • I have been dancing the night away in one of Abuja’s top night hot spots (INSERT CROSS LINK HERE TO FORTHCOMING POST)
  • A couple of days trip with some other volunteers to visit one of our colleagues in Lafia, about 3 hours drive out of Abuja was a great break (INSERT CROSS LINK HERE TO FORTHCOMING POST)
  • Finally I made it to the North for 2 days delivering training to some of our National Volunteers (INSERT CROSS LINK HERE TO FORTHCOMING POST)

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