Back in my little haven of calm (and bat poo and upturned cockroaches) I’ve had some time to decompress and reflect on a bonkers week with the ministry of fish.
I won’t kid you, it’s been tough. There were moments of joy to be had but I really had to dig deep to find them. It sometimes felt like a very lonely journey and that forced me to delve into my personal resilience bag of tricks on a number of occasions. But I made it to the end and along the way I learnt some stuff too. Here’s a snapshot of what I learned:
- Poor Sophea is not just a bit of a numpty and an object of pity. He is, in fact, Frank Spencer’s Cambodian twin brother. Mannerisms, vocalisations the works, it’s been there all along staring me in the face, but it took a week spent in close proximity with him for me to finally recognise it. No idea who Frank Spencer is? Check him out here: Frank Spencer
- I am not cut out to work with people who don’t ‘get it’. I need to be in the company of people who want to learn, who are excited to try out new stuff and engage in the process.
- For someone who doesn’t suffer foold gladly I did a bloody good job over the last 5 days!
- Pursat is the armpit of Cambodia. Despite trying really hard to find an endearing feature during my 2 days there I failed miserably and don’t intend to return in a hurry.
- None of what transpired over the week is because I am not good at my job. I did the best I could in pretty meh circumstances and, despite despairing at times, I hung on in there and persevered in trying to make the week the best it could be right to the bitter end.
- My team may be numpties but they’re my numpties. And it’s thanks to them that I have had such a rich vein of material from which to extract my blog posts this week.
- Sitting in the front seat of the minivan may mean I don’t have to experience the excruciating discomfort that is a group of Cambodians not knowing what to say to me but it does mean that each and every one of my nerves will be shredded as we hurtle our way at full pelt towards Phnom Penh with no respect whatsoever for other road users.
- It wasn’t all bad. In the second group a few trainees asked intelligent questions and were genuinely interested in the aspects of leadership psychology that we covered. They really engaged with the reflective exercises and could see how they could use them in their work with their teams. From little acorns great oak trees will grow maybe.
- I learnt (and then promptly forgot) the words to help me distinguish between the sweet and savoury versions of the sticky rice snacks that are wrapped in leaves and all look the same.
- It was really all about the money (I knew this beforehand but some of the things I saw over the week served to further confirm it. The training that I lovingly designed and shared was actually just a conduit for 40 plus Cambodian civil servants gaining access to the equivalent of roughly 1/2 their monthly salary through the daily subsistence allowance (DSA) payments they received for attending/delivering the training.
- I’m really glad my placement ends in 16 days because I don’t think I could go through all of that again and come out of it in one piece.
Well, I suppose I did say I wanted to become me one crazy adventure at a time. Guess I should be careful what I wish for eh!?!?