A New Year…

January 31, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

 A New Year and another month flies by, I have completed 10 months of my 24.I’m aware that I seem to be counting the time but that’s because I don’t know where it goes.

As per the advice we received on arrival, I have experienced a bit of a downer in the last couple of weeks ….nothing too worry about just par for the course really. This  could be attributed to the start of a New Year a time of reflection and resolution of course, however I’m feeling or should say was feeling that it had more to do with being a third of the way into the placement, and questioning myself on what have I done, what am I doing here, does it make any difference???? This was particularly evident when co- facilitating a workshop for a group of 39 nurses, identifying their training needs. I was talking( slowly) through a simple base line data sheet we wanted them to complete ( it was being translated in Sinhala at the same time), I remember looking at the 39 pairs of eyes  and thinking of rabbits startled by the head lights  or had someone thrown Harry Potters invisibility cloak over me again??  

There have been days where I seem to wear the invisibility cloak all the time, its not just the lack of recognition its the lack of basic courtesy respect and poor communication which makes me question myself and role here, which is alien being out of my comfort zone, yes I did want a challenge I appreciate that this is part of it… some days are harder than others!   

Anyway I seem to be on an up ward swing again I don’t know what suddenly makes it seem better, I do talk with the other vols which is really valuable ( I do miss my monthly clinical and managerial supervision sessions)and I do give myself a talking too ( bad sign I know)

Yes so a New Year is with us, I saw it in down south in Unawatuna, sadly I had a bit of a stomach bug I managed to stay up to watch the fire works on the beach at midnight without injury no particular safety code here regards the displays with the local dogs loving every minute of it, and retired to my room by 00.15.

Back to work with the stakeholder event  being held on the 8thJan which was regarded as a success despite a poor show from the business community we did attract good media coverage which ticked the box for raising awareness of mental health issues! The highlight for me was Ms J (who works at the paper factory) standing up and reading her testimony of experience to the audience of 74, what a star! We did get 3 shows of interest in engaging in employment opportunities …watch this space for further details.

From the shop floor to strategy, I have been involved with the programme office staff at VSO and the analysis of the SL programme area review. This was very informative (and hard going at times, lots of paper) I was able to see the evidence of the overall impact of the Mental Health programme in SL and putting my role in context.

The president’s wife visited the unit last week to open a new vocational training unit,( on with the saree!) there was a great deal of security and interestingly the front of the unit got a coat of paint the evening before she arrived… some things never change where ever you are!

Other visitors to the unit recently was a group of people (I met shortly after I arrived last year on their first visit )from the Netherlands ,Global Initiative on Psychiatry ( http://www.gip-global.org)  They are an international not for profit organisation focussing on  mental healthand human rights globally. They were back with secured funding for the forensic services at Angoda. They were very positive about the developments they saw at Mulleriyawawhich were just ideas last year. They have provided funds for a water tank for each ward and are hoping to support the much needed repairs to the toilets and the ancient drainage system. They are awaiting my report, which I prepared withthe new Matron and Infection control nurse, we await the estimates from the technical officer…that’s another story but I’m on the case! It was great to get the feedback and make contact with their consultants regarding resources for the new library and initial discussions about exchange programmes for student nurses …all good stuff hey!

Talking of students I am going back to the books I have enrolled on a part time diploma in Human Rights at the Institute (www. ihrsrilanka.lk ) here in Colombo 9-1pm every Saturday for 6 months it was  due to start on the 10thJan but in true SL time its been  rescheduled  twice already to 14th Feb.  Anyway I am really looking forward to it, I’ll keep you posted

Daily living continues to make me smile last week riding up the road after a visit to the veg stall I was aware of voices behind me asking the usual “where are you going?” trying not too fall off and keep my produce in the basket as I turned round I saw the tops of 3 bald heads disappear behind a 8 ft wall…the wall surrounds the Buddhist college…


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