I think every day I should write but I hate to write when I'm in an ugly place. Essentially, I am fine...just funky! My executive director is bit much, her management idol being Khengis Khan, and I'm having a difficult time adjusting to her expectations and demands. Her latest new management technique is a "movement log" so she can know where we are every minute of the day. I need to tell her, personally, when I go to lunch, though I go at the same time every day, so she will know when I leave (and probably be able to time me to be sure I am only gone an hour!). I keep wanting to shout..."But I'm a volunteer!!!!" Anyway, I was editing a report she sent to our national office yesterday and changed her sentence "Sarah is under a two year contract from 2008" to read "Sarah plans to stay for two years from 2008." I'm sure I will be reprimanded for changing her report but I just couldn't let it stand. The hardest part for me is that I truly love the programs, though she is such a poor administrator and manager that they are not nearly what they could be. We have agreed that I will not make any suggestions or give any advice without her requesting it. A lot of it I put down to her being menopausal and to her jealousy over my relationship with Dineo, the only other employee here, so I am working on compassion for her and her insecurities, but it ain't easy!
In the meantime and through it all, I've been pretty busy. Photos are attached from our trip to Pretoria with 100 older people. We were invited by the President's Spousal Office to bring them for a day of activities. We got two buses together and left the villages early in the morning to arrive there mid-morning on April 25. Breakfast was waiting and then we were given a tour of the Union Building. It was a great experience and I discovered that there is an enormous compound on the grounds, including the President's house and many other buildings. Unfortunately, since the tour was in Setswana, I didn't understand as much as I would have liked, but it was very interesting. We then departed for the new Freedom Park which has been built on the highest hill in Pretoria. It is beautiful and a must see for anyone visiting Pretoria. I didn't even know it was there! It is still under construction, but the major building and installations have been completed. I really want to return without a hundred old people to give the grounds justice with a full tour. We then went back to the Union Building for lunch and presentations. Mary Jane, Dineo and I all received beautiful coffee table books on South African Crafts commissioned by the president's wife. We also received a framed "coat of arms" for our office and then everyone received some token gifts, your basic mug and folding chair.
Earlier that week, Dineo and I attended a training on exercise for oldies in Klerksdorp for three days. We went with our driver, Tebogo, since Dineo is afraid to drive and I am not permitted to drive except on vacation. Unfortunately, we missed much of the training because Tebogo became quite ill and ended up in the hospital (he is still there). I was forced to drive us around in the city but I made Dineo drive us home (she couldn't shift, but was ok on the open road). So, it was a hectic, frantic, couple days as we tried to take care of Tebogo while transporting and supporting the trainer and training. We managed to carry it off, though, and got back here to Mafikeng late morning on Thursday to repack for Pretoria. We then left for Pretoria about three. The best part is that we had a very short work week last week, as Monday, Thursday and Friday were all holidays.
Over the weekend, a couple of my favorite volunteers, Erin and Megan, came for an overnight. I will actually be visiting them in their village, Setlegole, on the weekend of the 17th. Anyway, they are young and have wonderful energy, which they shared with me. I made a pot of chili and some corn bread and we had a regular feast and then watched a movie they brought. I can't remember the name (maybe "Across the Universe") but it was basically a music video of the 70s to a Beatles soundtrack. Talk about flashbacks! They wanted to watch it with me to get my reaction and then to discuss it with me. What fun to have someone care!
Back at it. More later. And check out the photos of Union Bldg and Freedom Park.