Got a big surprise on Friday:
Most of the research team including my preceptor Gladson will be in Lilongwe (the capital) for the rest of my time on site. They were able to schedule the training that was pushed back originally, so my relief of having lots of research team availability was a bit premature.
It’s very exciting that they get to be trained in Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV, but I was a little caught off guard and wish I was better prepared for their departure. Some big questions are yet to be answered!
This was one of those moments when you step back and realize that feeling upset doesn’t make anyone more available, timing any better or the project more successful.
I can say that I’ve learned many lessons here in communication. Looking silly and asking basic questions (twice or three times) is so much better than not having everyone on the same page. Through language and cultural barriers, being new to the team, and not having involvement in most of their primary work, this is an area I’m recognizing for improvement.
I’ll be doing my best with what I have to work with for the next two weeks, and I am fully confident that this will be sufficient.
With the community volunteers trained, I’m focusing on how to best enter the data into our database, identifying what stakeholder buy-in we have yet to obtain, and developing a proposal for how to ensure sustainability in the project, along with estimates of what resource are needed and what the clinic’s options are based on what they’re able to support. Lots and lots of notes, emails and documentation will help me communicate with the pros here on site when they return, or asynchronously in the mean time. Being no stranger to asynchronous working styles, I know I can pull this off.
But still, you know, if you cross your fingers and send me good project vibes I will not protest.