Cats and committees

Friday 11th to Saturday 26th  January

I am a volunteer with VSO but all entries on this blog are my personal responsibility alone and do not represent the views of VSO

Back to Juba, starting with the usual melee of people at the airport. However I am much refreshed for having had 2 lovely weeks with Barbara.

I went back to the house and met my housemates who told me that they were about to rescue some kittens that seemed to have been abandoned to die in the streets. They duly arrived – 4 very tiny kittens looking pretty sorry for themselves. We didn’t know how old they were – obviously very young but their eyes were open and they were perhaps 4-6 weeks old. Not sure how they would get on but at least they had some chance with us – none at all if left where they had been.

The real story of these 2 weeks has been preparing for and then taking part in the workshop for all volunteers in the country. A couple of people couldn’t get to Juba for it but basically all 43 volunteers across the 3 programmes were there. It was quite a logistical nightmare to get them all to the capital from the various locations and to find somewhere for them all to stay but it all worked. It was really good to see everybody and meet those I had not met before but more important it was really helpful to share experiences and, particularly in my case to develop the network of volunteers at State and County level who will be very useful in taking forward my work here and (hopefully) ensuring that it is sustained after I have left.

There has been discussion over recent weeks about establishing a volunteers committee for South Sudan, to represent the volunteers in discussions with the Country office. I had done some work on possible Terms of Reference for it and then found myself as the convenor of a planning group to pull it all together.

That culminated in a session at the workshop when the Committee was formally set up, and representatives from each area were elected. I became the representative for Juba and was then elected by the new committee as its Chairman. I was happy to do the work to get it up and running but I did make it clear that as my placement was relatively short I could only do the Chairman role for the 5 months that I would remain in the country.

I do seem to find myself involved with running committees – wherever I go! There must be a learning point in there somewhere.

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