Hemin Hemin…slowly slowly!

June 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Pole Pole” – “Oiy togs pace”- “where’s the fire”- “wait for us” have all been said to me  many times over the years, and not just when out walking on the hills!  I’m pleased to say that has definetely changed being here. I think I may have said in an earlier blog the heat slows you down and if you overtake a Sri Lankan you are walking to fast. However now it’s me saying hemin hemin (slowly slowly) to the amusement of my SL colleagues in relation to the work we are doing. A nurse was in fits of giggles when I said it during a conversation this afternoon, she turned to the doctor and said in Sinhala words to the effect “hemin hemin is Miss Sera’s catch phrase about Mulleriyawa”!
There seems to be some thing in the air that makes my colleagues want to get to 5th gear when they are still in the garage (umm I know, me of all people should not use gears as an example …) anyway when we are discussing issues, of discharge for instance, a family is located and that’s it, the poor woman is practically air lifted out (a slight exaggeration!) and there’s Ms Sera saying lets do some preparation on planning  the discharge to make sure it’s successful so she does not return to our door after 2 weeks…so hemin hemin, she’s been here 10- 15 years ,2 weeks to get the discharge arranged properly is not too unrealistic …is it?
With just over 9 months remaining of my placement, VSO programme office staff and myself facilitated a review meeting last week, engaging with the colleagues and staff I have been working with to review changes at the unit in the last 12 months, what had happened to make these changes, what impact had having a VSO volunteer made to the organisation, staff and the patients.
In the true participatory style that is VSO, there was plenty of flip chart paper, post it notes and group work to fill the 3 hours. It was conducted in Sinhala, I was able to get the gist as if they were referring to me they would point ,smile and say things like Sera Miss ‘planning’, ‘process,’ ‘ now we have meetings for everybody’, Sera miss always use diary, I have a diary now…giggle giggle. Miss Sera friendly to all, and even wear saree, more giggles, she always try to speak Sinhala.
The programme office staff made positive observations about  the working relationships, interactions and response to the session (I try to run the 2 monthly workshops in the same interactive way) I do acknowledge that “hemin hemin” some things albeit small and maybe not so small are changing for the  both the women and the staff!
What was really good was the final session, focussing the staff to think of the future, the year 2012, what would the unit be like. It was reassuring to hear them share their vision of fewer patients at the unit, with more employment for some, and more community services. They also agreed on 2 changes to focus on for the next year. This was positive as they were similar to the outcome of the discussions (about my focus/objectives) I had had with the director on return from UK, so I feel I’ve got direction and I’m on course, for the rest of my placement hoorah…chocks away!

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