A glimpse of Teresa’s day in Fantsuam


The start of the day

My average day starts at 5.00 to 6.00 am with some exercise and house chores, ready to report for work between 7.30 and 8.00 am. First I sort out work priorities for staff and volunteers, monitor reports and program registers to ensure compliance and struggle to complete the evaluation of an on-going programme. John calls me for two unscheduled meetings including a job interview. My colleague needs my advice about a difficult client. Oh it’s already 10 am and I have yet to be fully prepared for my phone interview with Athina from University of Southampton where I am seeking admission for an MSc in Geriatrics and Gerontology. Will she understand when I tell her that I need to start planning the purchase of Christmas and Eid wrappers for our hundred and twelve grandmothers? I still have some documentation to do on each of them……..

Then I remember that I need to follow up the case of a surgical emergency of one of my clients: she needed referral to a bigger hospital in the city. My next worry is how to raise the fees for her next major surgery. John, can you help?

The power in my office has been off and I have to move to another office and shuttle between the two for internet access to study some documents and complete more reports.

The Southampton interview went well, I think, but will I get the admission and scholarship? The course requires regular internet and Skype access: I must invest in an external modem as a back-up for when the Fantsuam network is not available.

A call came from my Mom who will be coming down with my son in a few days time: she needs an orthopaedic appointment, while I have to sort out a school for my son who is ten years old. The Fantsuam plumber interrupted my work with the news that he has fixed the leaking pipes in my flat. Then the Fantsuam accountant wants his weekly report of my department’s finances.

The Aflasafe project - to help farmers protect their crops against aflatoxins: Wow - I need to hold a meeting with all the women farmers from ten communities involved in this project within the next ten days: this will be a logistics challenge.  Oh, luckily, a volunteer from one of the communities just walked in, so I have fixed his community’s meeting for Saturday at midday.

The day is nearly over but there is always tomorrow!

And now it is close to 8pm and I haven’t crossed out the last of my assignments, but there will be tomorrow. Did I mention that John is a slave driver? Many times I have asked myself, “ Why am I here in Fantsuam and what am I doing here?” And yes, I know it is because this place is all about people: they are my motivation, my service, my satisfaction. The multi-tasking is hard going, but I would not have it any other way.

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