I rather feel like I am on a treadmill at times, running and running, but not really getting anywhere. The biggest frustration I have come along is the utter lack of any organizational structure. While there are plenty of computers, much of the information, if recorded at all, is till hand written in journals. Files that are on the computer are saved haphazardly, with no regards to organizing them in a useful system to find again. Things are created and used, but not saved to be reused and updated later. I have probably edited the same 3 paragraphs about Bosfam 4 times in my short time here already.
I have decided, in addition to focusing on the redesign of the website, I will also try to bring some rudimentary organizational system to the organization. My main concern is the continuing of the system after I am gone. I have to make sure what ever I decide to do is simple and easy, or there is zero chance of it being kept up. I want to stress that I think this is more a function of the overall culture of the country rather than a shortcoming of this particular organization. Life and work just move at a different pace here. The country is still recovering from the double punch of war and the end of socialism, so progress in most all areas is slow.
The language barrier is getting easier to deal with. I found myself overwhelmed at times in the first weeks with my complete lack of understanding, but I have picked up a few basic words and phrases and there are a couple of people here who speak basic English that can help me out.
My basic day at work consists of at least 2 half hour to one hour coffee breaks, where the women catch up with each other and talk about the latest news. I then work on editing or writing a promotional piece in English. At some point, most of their information was translated into English, but not by a native speaker, so I am working to get these all up to speed. I have also been working on the design and flow of the new website. My first three weeks were consumed with getting Beba and Bula ready for their trip to the US and getting all the items they needed edited first. Now, I get to work more at my own pace.
Posted By MacKenzie Frady Arbogust (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Posted Jun 21st, 2005