WWOOFing it Up in Kiwiland: organic farming in New Zealand 2012

3 years later and life brings me back to New Zealand. This time for a longer period, for a different purpose, with a different outlook on life than last time. I hope what transpires from a few years of travelling as far and as wide as possible across this beautiful country is a basic but decent knowledge and experience in organic farming, self sustainable living, and food production. Come and join me, there's loads of room in the car.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Letting go another time; the Jobseekers Network Cafe

It's difficult for people to let go of what's precious, what makes gives them purpose and meaning, especially when they don't really know what it is their hanging on for, or aren't self-aware enough to realise that's what they're doing.

For me, as a Community Development Worker, I get used to these goodbyes and it doesn't make me sad anymore. I get emotionally involved with them, but I don't get emotionally attached with the people I work with. At SCOREscotland, I cried when I left, and maybe that was under exceptional circumstances, but I had driven that project and made it what it is today, and I make no apologies for owning that achievement boldly because it's the truth.

The more times I say goodbye, the better I get at it. Having a grasp of the bigger picture helps too. And having a bright meaningful futures gives me hope in and makes the difference between me lingering on the past or getting on with living life now. We all have our own lives to live and it takes all sorts to make a world doesn't it?

So this morning I had my final session with the group and I'm glad to say it made the first 3 weeks worth it. We had a major breakthrough today and it was with the concept of the World cafe that it happened.

  • Everyone should be sitting down at a table already, and each table has a different question which is in the middle of your table. We will have 3 rounds so everyone will have sat at each table and discussed all 3. At the end of each round we’ll regroup and feedback.
The 3 questions were:

o What do you think is the purpose of the Job Seekers Network?

o Why do you come to the Job Seekers Network and how has it changed your life?

o How would you like to see the Job Seekers Network develop and how can you contribute to making it happen?

From this, the group identified funding as the priority goal to be addressed. There were emerging leaders in the group that came out their shells today and one of them suggested that the group have a meeting just to make a strategic plan to secure funding in 2 weeks time because the group are having their regular guest speaker session next week which can't be changed.
There were moments that made me want to cry, but that was only one. I had many moments when I felt happy and smiley. I walked into the room and there were red and white chequered table cloths, with pink and white carnations in vases. Cheese muffins, buns, carrot cake, pastries, all homemade and lots of people bustling around. It was a delight to see and the group all made it happen because the week before I had gone through atasks and asigned volunteers. All I brought was the laptop to play the CDs someone else bought. I got two leaving cards and one woman gave me cute wee kiwi bird ear-rings. Shame my ears aren't pierced :-S The discussion was flowing so freely that time ran out for evaluation! Booooh! but I recorded it for my assessed observation for my uni tutor to watch when I get back. What really made me happy was the woman who had a go at me two weeks before, was smiling and saying 'Thank You' repeatedly, like she was saying sorry too for the previous week. I think maybe repitition is a habit of hers...
It's was tough too. The founder right at the last 10 mins was undermining me and saying patronisingly that what I am suggesting is not real life, and that if you want to do it because you need to for university then do it, but I don't think we can say that we can do this in real life...i was just about giving up at this point to her constant barrage of ingratitude when another emerging leader shouted out that could have a subcommittee to talk about the funding. The rest of the group nodded approval and then I began writing this down... A subcom...but then Linda butted in again it's not a subcommittee and I stop writing down someone else's words, and then the other leader says a group then and Linda can't object cause it's not a formal word and so I score out subcommittee  and write group. When will the group do this I ask? But next week there's a guest speaker and I couldn't change it because they insisted on it, arriving to do what the group have always done. So let's make it in 2 weeks... and then I realise 1 and half hours has flown by already and we have to pack up.
It's been difficult, but it happened, after 4 weeks of wondering why I do this, my faith wins the day I feel confident they're on their way to becoming the amazing example of community development that they have the potential to be. And if they don't, well, it was always about the process anyway ... I'll show you my portfolio when I get home...

On another note, this is some of my flower arranging. Wendy brought in the flowers from her garden and the green goddess lilies are actually a weed here! Not native and so shouldn't be in gardens... still, they are beautiful.

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