Friday 6th March – 3 months, 18 days
Friday didn’t do much to dispel my crankiness about actions-not-words. Basically, I spent the whole day creating an International Women’s Day exhibition for my State Secretariat. Sure, it’s fun to take ten giant boards and put posters and pictures up to create a pleasing aesthetic. I love art and studied it for all of high school, so I enjoyed creating something. It was also nice to see three other ministries turn up and do their own colourful boards! After a trying day, I felt proud of my efforts at the end – I thought it looked good – and the people who knew I created it (like Teresa, Herminio and Armando who I work with) thought so too. I even had thankyous, which was a nice bonus (I never expect to get thanked for anything, although I appreciate it when it happens; life is nicer that way).
However I wasn’t happy that it was me doing it – at the last minute, too. I am meant to be here to support staff in this office – not to do the work because they don’t have enough staff. This is not mere grumpiness (because remember, I enjoyed the final product I made) but my concern that This Is Not Good Development Practice. Good development practice is when I come in and teach my planning or arranging or gender analysis or research skills to staff. Even if I am supporting them they take the lead on – like I’ve been doing with CEDAW. If a Timorese member of staff is working on something, and I can help them think about it, plan it, or offer my skills as a native English speaker, then great. But just doing something without being able to really consult them – it doesn’t sit well with me. Armando was there all day Friday, and I discussed how to arrange things with him. But I’m afraid it wasn’t much of a discussion. Sorry, Armando.
I mean, these things happen. And sure I’m a malae but I am part of the State Secretariat, so it’s still their exhibition. (Brought about by once-more invisible women’s work, but it’s still their exhibition.) There were reasons why I ended up in charge of the exhibition. Mainly it was because there were so many events going on in the fortnight and days prior to International Women’s Day – the Peace Conference, elections workshops in the districts, National Priority meetings, and other International Women’s Day events. The Timorese person originally in charge forgot to tell me that she had a four day workshop in the districts last week. (Yeah, oops.) This is why it fell to me to create some extra posters, decide the composition, corral other ministries’ contributions, etc. A few staff carried items over, some helped me put things up at various times throughout the day. I wasn’t completely without help or input. If I hadn't done it, there wouldn't have been an exhibition.
I just shouldn’t have been in charge, that’s all.