Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Basics: What I'm actually doing

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. My computer’s powercord died over the weekend, and it was the work of well over a day and two trips downtown to innumerable stores to get a new one. Shops were closed on Easter Monday, don’t you know, it and Good Friday being a national holiday, and so though many places such as restaurants continued to offer services, computer stores did not.

I am told that one reader commented, “I’m enjoying the blog, but what is Laura actually doing there?” I’ve added some more information on my role in the “about me” section to the right, but basically I’m helping a local non-profit (NGO, or non-governmental organization in local parlance) improve their microlending processes and practices, and especially how they utilize Kiva loans. And I cannot believe how well church work prepared me for this. There were all these people at the Kiva Fellows training from corporate and high finance worlds and I felt very intimidated, but we’re not talking about corporate high finance, here. We’re talking about basic do your best, seat of your pants tracking of relatively small amounts of money, managed by well-meaning people whose first love is people not money management. Just what I’m used to.

I probably won't be writing about work much as I want to preserve confidentiality both for Kiva and for the folks at Life in Africa, but I'm sure stories from the office will pop up from time to time.

In general, the mode of work seems to be of the “hurry up and wait” variety. Small bursts of activity interspersed with lingering stalls as I try not to be in the way and try not to feel bad about Not Getting Anything Done. It’s a very different pace from what I am used to in the U.S. where anything less than continuous activity or productivity is seen as wasteful. I really don’t know how much I will accomplish here. There are times when it feels like what I have been sent here to do should be cleared up in a couple of weeks; there are times when it feels like I will never accomplish anything. It is what it is, and I’ll do what I can. Resignation is an excellent discipline.

No comments: