From a professional perspective I must have had the strangest week since I started working. On Monday I went back and forth to Geneva to talk (with only half a voice) to an American foundation to get money to actually continue part of the work that we couldn’t get any money for before. It was a tough but interesting conversation, and somehow we managed to answer the question: Why would we save your work when nobody else wants to do this? – and walked out the door with the promise of 75.000 dollars with a good chance of getting more in the next two years (it will still need be approved by the board).
On Tuesday I had a conference call with a South African organisation to prepare a final meeting I will still attend in March and it will be the closure of the training project I travelled for in the fall. Moreover all my colleagues congratulated us on the great result of Monday.
Wednesday I spend time to finish up my last evaluation report on Indonesia, which can also be considered a succesful project. Based on the experiences of the Indonesian organisations that we worked with, the German development agency has actually decided to use the methodology I worked on in a project for the next three years. And in response to my goodbye mail I heard that the methodology is now also finding its way to the Caribbean via a Swedish University and their 30 MSc students in Public Health.
On Thursday I spend the day meeting on how to continue with the new initiative after the good news of the funds that were received. Moreover I met up with my favorite IT and Human Rights specialist from Ireland to discuss how we can still develop a new concept of bringing the methodology online with some last left over money, which he will still work on for the coming weeks.
At the same time my office is literally breaking down. On Tuesday the desk in front of me disappeared (well was collected by a former colleague). And On Wednesday I had to pack my own computer screen and office chair, so they could be transported to my home. Around me my (left over) colleagues were also losing their chairs, desks and in the kitchen the microwave is labeled with one of the many post-its telling who will take this home (I’ll be the happy owner of the cutlery). For the rest most of the stuff will go to other organisations that can also use it.
I even ended up in a minor argument with my colleague because we were both so tired of the whole situation, but most of all the schizophrenia of it all. As we are also discussing with the various colleagues about their job applications (and keeping our fingers crossed for them), the best way to approach your job coach at the social benefits office and see everybody tirelessly working in breaking down the office with the same commitment as they would have to build it up.
And this is exactly why I want to say thank you to an amazing group of people that have shown such commitment and have made this process so that our work will find a new beginning. In particular the fact that I had an escape button still through my travels and work to execute, but they kept on working in the office, trying to figure out how to transfer the work still, how to support this and close down shop properly even though it was the last thing they wanted.
Thank you and with all my respect for your commitment and energy spend (in totally random order) Karlijne van der Ende, Marieke van den Berg, Henriette Stulen, Ewoud Plate, Marloes Delis, Iratxe Florez, Loeky Droesen and Elena Perez! You’re professionals, but most of all human rights defenders to the end!