Trip Start Feb 05, 2011
6Trip End Feb 05, 2012
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Where I stayed
At these days it is very nice to go to the lake at the other end of town. I catch up with two other volunteers and we sit down for lunch at The Circle of Life restaurant terrace under the trees. The cool yellow, red and green colored place looks Jamaican, and … it's owned by a Jamaican! After lunch we go for a walk along the lake. This place is beautiful, with a stunning view, local fishermen, small boats, and a variety of birds. We sit down at another natural looking terrace and drink a cold Dashen beer, watching bold monkeys unexpectedly trying to steal some of your belongings. Next door is Lewi hotel (a chain of four in Hawassa) which doesn’t look as nice as ’our’ natural terrace, and… the view is the same, the beer as well even cheaper
From my home to town by bajaj is about 3 to 4 km, a lot of hassle, children calling "you, you, you" or “foreigngy”, negotiation about the price again with bajaj driver, and lack of exercise. Reason enough, although a shortcut, to walk every Saturday morning to town. And since 2 weeks a shortcut of the shortcut, what takes me 25 minutes now. It’s a nice walk through usual African dusty streets with chicken, goats, and little shops at houses. Afterwards I walk home with shopping in my rucksack, and a new blue bucket (my red one is leak) with bananas, mangos and two pineapples. It is hot, so I walk close to fences to find some shade. Once at home the shower is awesome! (well … bucket and bowl).
Before introduction of bajajs two years ago, people used horses, donkeys and wooden carts. Still many people use the old fashion way and treat their horses and donkeys very badly. These very thin, unhealthy looking and often wounded animals don’t get enough food and drinks, and get beaten while pulling heavy carts. I hear that there is a NGO in Hawassa that comes up for horses and donkeys rights! I wish these animals will get a better life
Since two weeks I have a brand new bicycle, got it from VSO. It says: “Made in China!” I try to pump up the back tire, but the pump gets very hot and doesn’t work properly. The tire is still flat. The lights don’t work, and I heard before using the bike take of everything that can be stolen and take of the carrier otherwise children will try to get a ride on your way! I haven’t tried yet, the bike stands still in my living room!
At work is my induction going on, however I may say I am slowly making headway in gathering information, knowing the people and adapting in the environment.
In my first week the Managing Director kindly gives me information on an usb stick. I plug in and find a strategic plan, reorganization plan, reports from committees, power point presentations, documents, and more reports. I list all documents (58) and the number of pages (2,871). I decide not to read all!
I interview managerial staff to learn about their background, their position as a leader, and their vision on human resources
In short some of my observations.
- Nothing comparing with western academic hospitals! The 6 year old building looks like 20, there is shortage of resources, bad working conditions, so is the environment for patients and students.
- Draft strategic plan 2011-2015 hasn’t been reviewed and approved by management; budgets are already agreed on.
- Documents are drafted by several committees, although no or insufficient implementations are carried out due to insufficient management skills.
- Job titles of Head, Manager, Team Leader and Coordinator requires definition of roles and responsibilities.
- HR Dept
- Bad infrastructure, including ICT and management control. Proper online data systems are needed (HR information system and online data systems for patients and students).
- Communication structure is required to let information flow through the organization horizontally and vertically.
- HR department needs more upgrading to give support, information and advice to management and employees on the many improvements needed on HR issues throughout the organization.
Big problem is the language barrier. It is difficult to communicate with poorly understanding and English speaking female colleagues, despite a bit of translation by others. Also 80% of all HR documents are in Amharic (laws, budgets, manuals, letters, agreements, etc.), which makes it not easy to get a proper view of procedures and processes, and efficiency of work
So there are many challenges and I understand that all this is too much for one year. Therefore I will set two or three main goals for this year and see how things move forward.
Sideways I hear some news from BBC television and from colleagues about other parts of the world, for example Japans’ disaster and unrest in Libya, and now Syria. The Ethiopian Herald newspaper gives no or poorly information, but every Monday VSO gives an update by e-mail about the safety in all Ethiopian areas. Fortunately we don’t perceive anything in Ethiopia. So far, no worries!
Thanks to everyone leaving a message on the blog, and again: we’ll keep in touch!
( I just heard temperature this weekend is 38 degrees! Nothing to be jealous on)