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GPzMike Abroad

May 5, t+19

PHILIPPINES | Saturday, 5 May 2012 | Views [562]

Today is Saturday. Every other Saturday the international volunteers have the day off. Today is that day. The local work force, however, continues working. Therefore, some staff must carry on on these days. Today I and Matt Engel took the AM shift and Travis and Nate will be taking the PM shift 'up top' at the work site.
Travis will be leaving in another week or so. Nate will be leaving by the end of the month or sooner, IIRC. What is still being considered is Matt's exit strategy/timeline. It is important to the almighty bottom line to reduce the fluffy, white powdered wig wearing overhead personnel to a minimum. For those of you having a hard time counting...that would leave one person to run the show: me.
The level of support and competency of the office staff and field staff is very high. It's not like I'm all alone nor as if there hasn't been a fantastical amount of work in preparation for this eventuality. There are systems and personnel in place. But, it's going to be a bit dicey at first to plug all the inevitable little holes in the dike that are inevitably going to appear when the staff thins down to one. You can never foresee ALL of the fingers stuffed into ALL of the holes until they are removed and the water starts rising up around you neck (well, hopefully, I will recognize the rising water well before it hits my neck...like down around my shins). I'm a tad nervous about it I don't deny. But I'm also very sure I can make it all happen. Perfectly, no. Hell, if I allow myself to start dabbling in that well I'd be quickly scrapping some of the fundamental design issues of the buildings. It's all a balancing act.
You know: Ye Olde Iron Triangle: balance cost vs quality/scope vs time. But even it is flawed. The truth lay somewhere in a murky and shadowy in-between world. The best we can hope for is to find a way to keep everyone reasonably happy with the outcome. It's extremely rare that we will ever find a way to make all parties exuberant and deliriously happy...there are just too many people with too many bars to measure up to.
I'm not complaining in any way. This is a serious challenge. I am prepared to throw myself into it full tilt boogie. Matt, though, does (and for this I'm happy) recognize that there are some relationships that he's cultivated from the beginning of the project 3+months ago that are very valuable to the success of the overall project. Handing those delicate relationships off to someone (me) will not be as effective as maintaining the relationships - and in the Philippines, relationships are crucial to getting the gears of industry and government moving in your direction.
For instance: we will be shutting down our deliveries of concrete blocks at the end of next week because we have not been issued lots to build on by Habitat/The City government as was promised. This is an ongoing dilemna and the best way to get action is by cultivating relationships with the proper powers. The 'squeaky wheel' concept does not work here so well. So Matt's continued presence might well be extremely valuable as an AH 'ambassador' so to speak. That would free me to keep tabs in the field and in the books.
We don't know for certain yet what will happen. These are concepts and thoughts running wildly around that have not yet come to roost on any particular side of the fence.
A small boatload of IV's (international volunteers) have gone to a music festival so it's pretty quiet around here. Think I'm gonna post this up and go have a bit of a nap. Then I'll start scanning in all the receipts from my hospital stay so I can get reimbursed for it from my travelers insurance. Oh, and I think I have at least a couple of photos to post up...I'll either get them on now or this evening when I'm posting the scan's.
Here's a couple of video links to keep your interest up:
http://vimeo.com/40609686
http://vimeo.com/41477258

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