Spoke to Ms. Kwok, one of the teacher I/Cs for GPS Zambales about the plans for the exhibition today and I think it was probably an important point for me in the course of this GPS journey/ service journey in general. It really set me thinking about two key issues:
- Management of workload and timeline as a leader
- Understanding the scope of each service project
Management of workload and timeline as a leader
I think one thing that I have been reminded of time and again by various mentors, whether seniors or teachers, is splitting the workload within the team instead of taking on too much myself. It’s something I’ve struggled with for quite awhile but something that I hope I’m slowly improving in? But another thing that I think comes along with managing workload is managing expectations, for the project and for the team.
I tend to be very ambitious in planning things in general – I aim high and because of that I expect a lot out of myself and the people I work with. I’m one of those people who strongly believe that, indeed, nothing is impossible. But at the same time I think in that process I fail to recognise that sometimes, there are certain limits we have to accept. For the exhibition for example, we aimed to curate our entire exhibition over the June holidays in order to get it running by Term 3 Week 2. This is despite the fact that none of us have prior curating experience due to the fact that the exhibition team was initially meant to be a Playback Theatre team and therefore we joined the team because of prior knowledge of playback/ performance work as opposed to curatorial work. This was something that I was aware of but did not take into more careful consideration though I really should have.
Additionally, I learnt to accept that everyone in the team would have different priorities – while planning and executing the exhibition might be a key priority for me, this might not be the case for everyone in the group. Different individuals might have different projects and events that they prioritize and ultimately, the planning period is still the June holidays which should be respected for what they are – holidays.
Moving forward, in order to better accommodate the timeline of the group and also to reach out a wider audience so as to capitalize on the effort of the group, we have decided to incorporate the GPS Zambales exhibition, Anong Pangalan Mo? into Gotong Royong 2015. This means the exhibition will happen in January 2015 as opposed to July 2014. It’s a large difference in time frame but hopefully this means we will be able to do an even better job of it! So look out for Anong Pangalan Mo? in the months to come!
Understanding the scope of each service project
Over the course of the meeting with Ms. Kwok, we deviated slightly from talk about the exhibition to just the usage of funds for GPS Zambales and the scope of our project in general. This came from a point I brought up about the possibility of selling woven objects made by the villagers and giving the proceeds back to the village in order to raise funds for the building of a new school building.
The rationale behind raising funds for the building of a new school was that the school building is a project the community, along with Asian Bridge Philippines, has been working on for a long time in order to expand educational opportunities to the children there. Do refer to one of my previous entries for more elaboration! However, we then realised that because we were going on GPS under the school, it would not be possible to make this donation even if we had raised the funds in order to do so.
I understand why we are required to make only donations in kind and not cash donations to the communities we work with for GPS because under the school there needs to be that form of accountability as to what the money is being used for but I think it still hit me pretty hard that we wouldn’t be able to help them on this front when it was something that the chieftain stressed to us multiple times – the importance of education for the youth in the village.
But ultimately, I think as students going there, we will try to help in the ways that we can. If that means providing platforms to raise awareness for the Aeta culture, re-organising the library to be a more conducive space for learning and putting together a herb garden as a way of bringing their ancestral spaces down to the area where they live for the children, then we will do the best we can in those areas.
Ah I really apologise for the quality of this post, I will edit it soon enough hopefully! I just wanted to get something out quick and I hope this maintains some semblance of coherence! As always, do let me know if you have any feedback in the comments below!