Riding Surf Takes a Village

There are a few verbal and story-telling conventions that I greatly enjoy, it’s one of my quirks.  Those who know me would recognize some I am sure.  Quoting lines from movies or even songs, and drawing similes and metaphors.

So as most of you probably by now know, I am doing my placement at HRC (That’s the Housing Resource Centre for anyone unfamiliar) and am doing a good portion of my work on intake.  Last week Friday I started flying solo.  Our question for the week was about supervision.  I chose to entitle my post “It takes a village” because of how my supervision is being handled.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”  I am sure many of you recognize the quote as an African proverb.  More recently Hillary Clinton referenced it in her presidential campaign speech, 2007.  Political leanings aside, Clinton was not why I quoted it.  The Proverb in its original context referred to the social nature of the human animal, and how teaching a child all they need to survive in life is a job that is often too big to be done simply by parents.  Children in what has become known as tribal societies are usually raised by an extended family, and benefit greatly from this kind of structure.

This is how things have been for me at HRC.  I have a specific supervisor, but in practice I am under the wing of almost everyone in the office.  I have been finding it very supportive and reassuring, and it has definitely helped me learn from a lot of angles.  Any time I have questions during my work, I can ask anyone, I don’t have to wait for my supervisor to be free/available, everyone works together to ensure the success of the entire team.

So that explains the village part of this title.  Riding the surf?

Well, as I mentioned before, I am flying solo on intake.  Intake at the HRC is something that comes it spits and spurts, Kind of monsoonal some might say.  Sometimes you are sitting around doing some background research into wheelchair accessible housing that might be considered the client’s job, just to help make it easier for them, because you have extra time.  Or you might be carrying boxes of toilet rolls up or down stairs to help out, or folding fliers ….  Sometimes you are inundated with intake after intake and would never be able to move fast enough to keep up.  Kind of like swimming in the surf, the valley between the waves you swim faster to get ahead, because the next wave that crashes is going right over your head …..

I’m finding it challenging.  Sure there are down-times where I feel like I am twiddling my thumbs (I did say thumbs people, trying to keep this clean) and sometimes I feel like I am running over hot tar trying to keep coffee from spilling.  The clients are usually good, after all they are here for my help.  The staff here are phenomenal, after all I am there to help them …  sort of.  But some of the stories you hear, they can be downright gut-wrenching.  The stories about landlords alone are enough to destroy anyone’s faith in the human species.  But there are just enough good endings to allow you to keep getting up in the mornings.  And the tenacity which people have at attacking their problems is reassuring.  Mostly.

So the prime goals I am looking to cover in this blog are self-care and cultural differences.  This is more of a ground breaking post rather than a meat and potatoes.

Stay tuned for the next thrilling installment!!


~ by scawalrus on May 31, 2012.

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