Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Day 6B (US Tuesday Evening)

Part A - the Home Front: This whole scheduling thing is amazing. I do/have done quite a bit of scheduling of construction projects at work. I've done macro schedules of large projects that show (only) the start and finish times of mini-projects and I've done micro schedules that indicate down to the minute when work trains have to move through an area to ensure Monday morning rush doesn't get hit.

But this scheduling at home thing is a different animal. There is both an over-abundance of things to schedule and an under-level of "what am I going to do with these guys today".

I've come up with the perfect solution . . . I've double booked them for Wednesday. Two of the kids are supposed to do two seperate things with two different families. Try as I might to sync the schedules with both a Palm Pilot and Microsoft Outlook, I'm now being told by one of the electronic calendars that "this appointment conflicts with another appointment on your calendar.

I talked with a neighbor on the phone the other day and had a slow-dawn of why she and my wife talk so many times each day. It isn't just because they're friends -- it's because MS Outlook can't do what they must do. They talk to coordinate, to schedule, to compare notes about which kids need which color t-shirt for VBS, and if there is time remaining, to chat.

Part of me thinks that I could make this stuff more efficient, make it more timely, and make it "better", but Day No. 6 Dave thinks that might ruin the whole thing, make it more sterile, make it less human, and make a difficult task into lonely task as well.

Part B - The There Part: In Mamelodi, I imagine that even though only the second day of construction has ended, the Construction Teams are probably hitting their strides. At about this time, some members are calculating how much work they can get done before they have to leave. Others are beginning to ask the leaders how they can work longer hours. They are beginning to feel, "we're here, we've got a job that it before us, we can do more -- just let us."

Also about this time, some of the team members are just beginning to get the next, other side of the Construction - the side that those above will get at some point between now, the plane ride home, and after being back in the US for a week or two.

Sure the Construction Team built houses, provided a hand-up, gave some shelter to those needing to fill the base of Maslow's pyramid. It provided the conclusion to a goal.

But from the US-individual's view, the construction was not an end, but a means, a lesson, an ahaa!-moment. They'll remember the people that they built the houses for and after a while, they'll realize that those people were content, satisfied, and had an internal guidance that provided grace.

At some point, they'll laugh out loud, shed a mini-tear, or just exclaim "Crap! I get it! . . . Now how can I grab it and keep ahold?"

At least, that is what I did.

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