Friday, April 14, 2006


A map and a compass

Now that the debate over the gospel of Judas has reached its peak in news during the time Christians celebrate Easter, some are focused on the first democratic elections in the DRC (32 candidates!) and others are concerned with the mixture of the next Italian government, I am shifting away from all that to blog on the ambiance we had in the World Of Work (WOW) training. Definitely, this is one of the experiences that I will always remember in my life.

From March 13 to April 11, 2006, as interns of the WOW program; we were addressed by almost 40 people from different organizations. Some of them spoke for as long as 20 minutes but said as much constructive as longer presenters. One of the earlier things I learnt is an advice from Shameen Naidoo (CCDU) who addressed us on emotional intelligence (EQ) and stress management. Being altruistic by nature, my main challenge was how to find a balance between self and social awareness. Her advice was simple; three of the 5 elements of EQ concern the self […], therefore allow sometimes to you and give yourself this month then work from that. Three weeks later, I have realized that it was the done thing to myself and I can still find room for people surrounding me.

After a school attendance of 24 years, despite some interruptions here and there, it was time to negotiate an eventual shift. Please note that, the record for school attendance among 2006 WOW interns was held by Maina with 25 years!

We were a group of 17 interns, all humanities students but from all over the world. The beauty of the thing was that we had to see each other and spend at least a third of each working day, which was quite different from post-graduate studies we have just finished. When attending postgraduate classes (at least at Wits), the longest sessions we had were two-week block studies intermittently held. In the WOW, I started to realize that my formal studies were over though I am still struggling between embarking for the workplace or progressing towards a Phd, which is another story.

The WOW was a sort of ambiance I had to discover and learn from. Planning to work in an organization with diversity as main characteristic, the WOW was the shadow of the career environment I have been longing for. Not only that the caliber of guest speakers was high, but also the diversity of study programmes and countries we all were from gave it a special character.

Besides that, we had two special ladies: Jean Power and Lesley Emanuel managing the programme. I like the power and heart Jean has; you can’t be insensitive to that. On the other hand, Lesley’s frankness, desire for excellence and high-standard pieces of work taught me a lot.
Another opportunity this program gave me was to make me part of the the blogosphere, this complex virtual community of people from all over the world, not limited by space and time, but always interacting through web blogs. I really felt what it entails to be a citizen of the global village. Thanks Roy, thank you to all our guest speakers (since I cannot name each individually).
Now, with this blogteam, my wish is to see the very same atmosphere, not as real as the physical we had, but a virtual interaction through blogging.

I learnt a lot and space does not allow me to list what I have been empowered to. In short, after attending this programme and listening to all our guest speakers, I feel like being given and taught on a pack of two things: ‘a map and a compass’ with their user’s guides. Drop me in the Amazon forest and for sure, with the two tools, I can still find my way out, I can still locate South Africa or DRC. I mean, I am ready to ‘go to work’ in South Africa, Brazil, DRC or elsewhere as long as it is on earth where I can use my map and compass.

Thanks a million,

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