An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Cupboard I Work In

I call my office a cupboard. Not because I keep brooms and mops leaning against the sides, but because the size is not much bigger than the wardrobe that I have back at my bedroom in my oldies place - isn't it great to know that if I ever need to, one day I could go back home and live in my old bedroom and admire the plastic kit-model planes that I never got round to painting and have a big wardrobe/small office to use.

Anyway back to the office. The rough dimensions for the spot I spend most of my time at work would be about 2m x 2m. So it is bigger than a cupboard, bigger than most wardrobes unless you grew up in a big house like me and probably a little bit smaller than the size as a small bathroom.

"Not that small" I hear you say. Well maybe not comparing it to some of the cubicles I have seen on sitcoms and movies (Office Space springs to mind), but there is a reason I call it a cupboard. It is because there are no windows apart from a little cell like one and a door which makes me have to squeeze up against the desk to close it if I want to shut out the noise from the duplicator machine just outside.

I think your getting the picture. Our whole department is crammed into a tiny building which looks more like somebodies house rather than a University department building.

I get a converted storage room to use as an office, we have the printing guy Sanga going non stop in the space outside, the two reception girls, Maria and Damaris, nearby where they serve all the students over a counter who come and cram in to get transcripts, pay fees or whatever. In between there are stacks of ream paper boxes full of either new A4 paper or printed books for the students. To the sides there are a couple of other small offices, one being another converted storage room - although bigger than mine, but missing the essential A/C. John gets that one and is always complaining about the dust swirling about from the fan.

In total there are eight of us working in a house sized building. And that is not all of us. Because of the lack of space inside, outside we have two converted shipping containers that are full of student materials. Stacked to the top full with more boxes full of books. There are two guys working there as storemen, if you have been reading my posts, one is Knox from the Mt Wilhelm trip and the other is Robin. Then finally there is also Paul who is working in a completely different building about 5 minutes walk away.

Thankfully the wheels of progress are turning and some of the cash we are making is being spent to extend our little green house. Although of course in true PNG style this is taking a bloody long time. So far since getting the approval back in March we are now at the stage where the footings are in place - only 6 months later not too bad.

It may sound like I am complaining but it actual fact it does not bother me, even though it did took a little bit of getting used to after the open plan commodious environments of all my previous places of occupation. The only real pain that I have is that I have nowhere to properly set up computers to install and test them. It means that I have the one corner of my cupboard not already occupied by a desk, chair or door swing that is stacked with computer bits going through their testing phases.

My other slight complaint is that due to the lack of natural light in my cell, I need to take breaks regularly and get outside, otherwise by the end of the day the bombardment from the CRT will be to much for my then frazzled brain to take. Breaks usually involve a nice walk over to the Kopi Haus (Coffee House - where buying a cup of coffee will get you a cup, a sachet of instant coffee and some hot water) where I will buy some of my favourite PNG snacks. I will elaborate in a future post on some these.

Well that is enough digressing and slacking off from work, I need to get back to it and set up some more PCs. Ciao.

A tad on the cramped side