One of our objectives is to develop the executive members of the association in their roles as midwifery leaders. A key person in this is the President of the Association. On my first visit here in May 2013 it was difficult to engage with her, she seemed very disheartened and dis-empowered. We were supposed to be running a workshop but no plan or programme had been made and I wondered whether we should even continue with the programme or focus in other areas where we were more likely to be able to effect change. We decided to take the risk.
This time it couldn't be more different. The President called me on Sunday to see that I had arrived safely and met with me first thing this morning. She has booked time off work to spend with me working on the project. She was so excited about showing me all the preparation she had done for the workshop: she has prepared a fantastic two day programme. She's been networking and has invited some interesting speakers to attend and present at the workshop. The invitations have all been printed and sent out. The photocopying and materials we need have all been prepared. The venue and catering (at much more appropriately costed establishments) have been booked. And she has prepared a presentation, as President, clearly explaining the role of the association, successes and challenges and a great plan for the future.
|Mrs Chea Ath showing my her presentation with a beaming smile|
I was speechless. I think I shed a tear or two. We went out for a lovely lunch together, to test the food at the restaurant that is catering for the workshop, and ate all my favourite Khmer dishes: stir fried chicken and ginger, prohok k'thi (minced pork with fermented fish paste, pea aubergines and salad with rice) and cold rice noodles with salad and curry sauce.
There's a long way to go but at least for today I feel a great sense of hope and achievement. Thanks everyone for your interest in the project and support to me in my role.