Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Lusaka

Lusaka

On September 8, 2013, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , , With Comments Off on Lusaka

I’m back in Lusaka. The wait in the Livingstone Airport was interminable, and the flight was just as bumpy, but this time we were in a larger plane, with six seats across separated by the aisle.

Something that happened when we arrived in Livingstone and again when we arrived in Lusaka- instead of the luggage going to some conveyer belt, airport guys load up carts 5 ‘ high with the bags and push them into the small room where all of us are standing around waiting for them. If I hadn’t gotten to know Paul and Nada, who were old hands at this, I never would have realized that I had to wait for the luggage rather than seeking out a baggage claim area.

It was different when I first came to Lusaka, because we had to go through customs. Then, we picked up our bags in another room (again, no conveyer belt- just conveyer guys)

I’m exhausted. I was picked up at 12:15 to go to the airport and the flight didn’t leave until after 1:40- and I’ve just arrived (finally!) back at the Taj Pamodzi hotel at 4. Good grief!

Now I’m wondering how and when John and Vivian will get in touch with me so that we can go set up the room for Monday.

 

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I’m back in Lusaka. The wait in the Livingstone Airport was interminable, and the flight was just as bumpy, but this time we were in a larger plane, with six seats across separated by the aisle.

Something that happened when we arrived in Livingstone and again when we arrived in Lusaka- instead of the luggage going to some conveyer belt, airport guys load up carts 5 ‘ high with the bags and push them into the small room where all of us are standing around waiting for them. If I hadn’t gotten to know Paul and Nada, who were old hands at this, I never would have realized that I had to wait for the luggage rather than seeking out a baggage claim area.

It was different when I first came to Lusaka, because we had to go through customs. Then, we picked up our bags in another room (again, no conveyer belt- just conveyer guys)

I’m exhausted. I was picked up at 12:15 to go to the airport and the flight didn’t leave until after 1:40- and I’ve just arrived (finally!) back at the Taj Pamodzi hotel at 4. Good grief!

Now I’m wondering how and when John and Vivian will get in touch with me so that we can go set up the room for Monday.

We finally connected, went to the hotel and set up quickly for Monday. Then I went to bed!

Lusaka, September 9, 2013

School started on Monday, so there was a huge traffic jam and John and Vivian weren’t able to pick me up until after 7:30 a.m. The students wear uniforms, different colors and patterns for each school.

Today was the fifth module: Human Resource Management. It went beautifully, with no need to make any changes. During the day, I had them create a complete job description, including the skills, knowledge and abilities (SKA) necessary to perform the job- and useful for screening potential applicants. They also created qualitative and quantitative performance standards. Many of them had never created a job description, certainly never considered identifying and using the KSA, and had no experience with establishing performance standards. So they were delighted with their new skills and so was I.

I didn’t write on Monday night because I was exhausted. Sorry about that.

Lusaka, September 10, 2013

Today was the sixth module: Facility and Records Management. There were many new faces today, including two women: Dely-Lyn and Evelyn, wearing native costume. They looked beautiful and were kind enough to let me take their photos. Evelyn even took time to wrap her scarf around her head, so I got the full treatment!

When I first learned I needed to have a session on this topic, I couldn’t imagine that it would be very important or interesting. Boy, was I wrong! If these folks don’t keep the facilities clean and safe, parents won’t want to send their children there and the institution will have to close.
We first looked at the issue of housekeeping, giving them sample cleaning standards checklists and schedules. They had none of this- and spoke about how lazy the cleaners were. We explored the fact that: (1) if no one has given them the standards, how would they know what is expected of them? (2) if they are not trained, or given the necessary supplies and equipment, it is unreasonable to expect them to perform well; and (3) if they are not motivated, it is probably due to the fact that everyone looks down at them for performing such menial labor.

I gave them some examples of how to help “menial labor” recognize how important they are. For example, the first thing we look at when we sit down in a restaurant is how clean the silverware and glassware is. That is the direct result of the work that the dishwashers perform. It is possible to help them come to their dirty, hot jobs and perform them with pride.

So I gave the table groups the assignment to plan how to help their cleaning staff feel important. The groups were wonderfully thorough in their answers, including treating the cleaners with respect, including them in their own classroom training, and getting them the cleaning supplies they need.

That raised the issue that the proprietors of these small private medical training institutions discount the importance of the cleaning staff and delay approving expenditures for the cleaning supplies that are really necessary to ensure a clean and sterile environment. So we discussed how to talk to the owners using language that they understand, by showing them that the consequences of ill-trained and ill-equipped cleaners are potentially terrible for the image and sustainability of the institutions.

We next looked at preventive maintenance, where they said that the owners waited until something broke down before they spent any money on it. There certainly wasn’t any schedule for preventive maintenance in any of the institutions.

I had each table select a piece of equipment and draw the consequences of that breakdown. Their drawings were magnificent, listing many severe consequences to the institution (in language the owners would understand).

Then we moved to looking at safety and security. That was terribly depressing, because they don’t have those policies, systems and training in place. It was also somewhat frightening, because they personally could be sued if something happened to a student or employee.

It was at this point that a few participants said that we really needed to provide a change management training- one day for owners, to help them become open to the idea of change and to listening to the managers when they raised these issues; one day for staff, to help them learn how to promote change to their owners. I will pass the request along to the powers that be back in the States.

The relay race, competitive brainstorming, scavenger hunt for record quality and security assurance best practices- all went beautifully.

There was also a debate, pro and con having a computerized record management system. To my surprise, the young woman who represented the con side essentially won the debate! She was fantastic (and had apparently debated in school). We really want the institutions to computerize- and to back up their records. I think that message came across, even if the debate didn’t clinch it as I had hoped it would!

The participants have been very happy with the practical skills and job aids we’ve given them. So I’m gratified that we were on the right track as we planned these sessions.

At the end of the session, one of the men came up to me with a thumb drive because he likes the music I’ve been playing and wanted to download it. Well… I have hundreds of songs in my iTunes- and we couldn’t figure out how to transfer any of the albums (he was interested in the country music!). So we connected my iPod to his computer so he could download some songs that way. 40 minutes later he was 1/3 of the way downloading the necessary software. He’s sending someone to the workshop tomorrow who might be able to complete the transfer. I have my doubts.

Then we packed up and drove to the US Embassy, where John was to pick up his visa and passport. I think it took over an hour, while Vivian and I chatted. She told me about her “hobby” farm. I mentioned in an earlier message that this farm produced a huge amount of maize, that she sold to the miller to grind into grain. Well, she also has 2000 cockerels and has just arranged to sell 500 of them every two weeks, for a profit of $1000!!! She has plans to raise pigs, buying 10 pregnant sows, each of which is likely to produce 10 piglets per litter, and selling the 100 piglets as she started the process again. She said that the need for pork was huge.

She is amazing! She is a consultant, but work is sporadic, so this keeps her busy and makes sure that she has an income.

She did say that she didn’t need to touch the cockerels or the pigs; she just had to research how to raise them and then give instructions to the four people who work the farm for her. She doesn’t want to go live at the farm, because there are a lot of snakes. Eeuw, I cringe just writing about that.

We waited for John parked next to a field from which maize had been harvested. Vivian was sure that the field would never again be planted, because the land was now very very valuable. Why? Because it is across the street from the American Embassy and people would want to put up a house and live there- because they would be safe there.

That’s it for tonight. I really am wearing down. I’ll be in bed by 9 p.m., up at 5:45 again tomorrow.

Fondly,

Mom/Deb

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