Some of you are aware that Gaborone, and actually much of the country has been experiencing rather dramatic power outages over the past few days. Coming from the land of snow and ice, sweating in the heat really does beat freezing your a** in the cold.
This logic led me to contemplate how your take on something can be so dramatically different depending on your current circumstances. Like most Canadians I love snow days, but I dread power outages that last for too long leaving you freezing and peeing who know where.
Now flip that to living in Africa. The lack of power is far more easily assimilated – at least for me! If you had asked my colleagues yesterday they were moaning about it just like a Canadian would. I on the other hand have not felt that impacted by the power blips. It has been pretty much life as usual for me.
My second take on the power variable comes a result of a major meeting I attended this morning at NACA (the National Aids Coordinating Agency). I was attending the meeting on Oscar’s behalf – poor man can’t be in two places at once can he??? The meeting was the CCM (no, for all of you government employees reading this not the ccm you are thinking of!). It is the Country Coordinating Mechanism meeting for Global Funding. The purpose of the monthly meetings are to track the current projects taking place in the Southern Africa region including Botswana in the area of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculous and Malaria.
It is a very high level meeting and those sitting around the table hold the voting power to change funding and projects in Botswana in these three high risk health areas. This is a very different type of power!
I have to admit that of all of the meetings that I have attended since arriving in Botswana four months ago and believe me there have been many! This meeting left an incredibly positive impression on me. Okay, it was an hour later getting started as a quorum is required to proceed with the meeting. In fact, the only people tardy in their arrival were the Ministers or their alternates. While we waited for the quorum to be made up, I sat between GoB Program Coordinator of Orphans & Vulnerable Children and NACA’s lead HIV/AIDS policy analyst. I was more than happy to spend an hour discussing issues and policy with these two individuals along with the others who joined our conversation.
Once the meeting started, I was truly impressed by the quality of the Chairman. Not only was he handsome, distinguished, and very intelligent. He was the most effective, articulate chairman that I think I have ever seen. He represents the Botswana Business Coalition and man, is he impressive. In fact, when the discussion turned to “burn rates” – how fast funding is being dispersed and used – my eyes didn’t even start to glaze over with the bean-counters explanations. As the chair, he kept the meeting running smoothly, allowed discussion, appropriate voting, summations and referral of action items. Wow! what a package!
Actually as I looked around the room I was truly impressed for the first time since arriving at the men in the room. In fact most of them were as articulate and intelligent as the Chairman. Plus, it didn’t hurt that there were several other handsome men in suits. Eye candy always help when you are considering weighty issues like funding challenges.
So I will leave you with this thought – power, whether it be what is lacking or what is present, is all in your perception.