When I heard about COVID-19 in March I underestimated the impact it would have on basically everything about my job. Do not get me wrong, I had a mask with me way before the first case was reported. Paranoia! This pandemic has literally made me believe in so many sayings and proverbs I read or heard about not knowing what really the future holds.
Working from home has been a wholesome experience for me. I mean, I have not seen my wonderful teammate Judy since March or conducted the usual school visits every now and then and experience the different ideas PACE fellows had initiated in the different schools of the Nairobi Upper region where Judy and I manage. I had to learn a schedule and stick to it otherwise nothing was going to work or get done. My biggest temptation has been Netflix. I have watched everything there as well as ensuring the kitchen knows no peace. I have had ice cream more than I can count and enjoyed simple activities like Sunday afternoon walks which by the way, in my opinion, fit in the description of just enough exercise for the week.
Fellows are PACE are a big part of my job. I mean every year I get so challenged and inspired by their willingness to bring change to their communities. My favourite days at PACE are training days. On such days, we sit in groups a lot during breaks and I get to hear what is really going on while at school and also in their own lives. I love these conversations because in as much we will crack a few jokes everyone including myself goes home feeling heard.
So I felt a need to check up on alumni, some of those who currently live outside our country, and those who live within as well. It was interesting to hear about the experiences, some sad and some so hopeful about the future. The “new normal” had caught most of them unprepared and with nothing to do but just wait for instructions from the leaders of the different fields they are in. An interesting activity for me was hosting the annual graduation on zoom, I always looked forward to PACE graduations so this one was bizarre for me.
Thankfully, the management at PACE kept us busy in restructuring and the many learning session which live up to the PACE value on life long learning. During this period, we have been working from home; it feels like I have understood the value of my work on a whole different level. It occurred to me that a single call can carry so many decisions and that the digitalization of our workplaces globally is really a necessary conversation companies should have.
The Social hour held every week, the team meetings, and the conversations I have had with PACE fellows and alumni in whatever capacity have made working from home fun and interesting. I also got to conduct a training on Project Management at Nafisika Trust(http://www.nafisikatrust.org/). I got to know about Nafisika through a close friend who told about the work they do in our Kenyan prisons and felt the need to volunteer with them whenever I could and hence got the opportunity to train the entire cohort on projects. There is power in networking. The experience was interesting, coming from a person who considers himself a poor host unless I am hosting you for ice cream, I did pretty well.
It has been an interesting experience for me in 2020, I’ve learned to never take the time we have for granted. Live in the now, enjoy your today because last year at a time like this I did not think that breathing without having to wear a mask was such a gift.