Monday, May 12, 2008

can't get much lower than that

Packing for another trip to Johannesburg tonight. Tomorrow I’ll be back in the big city with our new volunteer, Nick, and one of the manager candidates and my neighbor, Susan. It should be a fun week but definitely busy getting ready for the big fundraising event on Sunday. This is Susan’s first trip to the big city too so I want to make sure she haves fun. She’s pretty nervous too so I want to make sure she isn’t on edge all week.

Work stress…there’s been quite a bit that I’ve alluded to lately. Most of it has finally blown over so I feel ok sharing it now. After the Sekororo office had an unusually high financial request, I was asked to investigate a bit deeper. Well, this is the office that I’ve been working on the books with the bookkeeper for a few months now. Only in January did we finally get all the monthly cash books balanced – it hadn’t been done once since this office opened and that was back in 2006! But we fixed those problems and moved onto the next. Well once I started digging a little deeper into their financial reports, there were some funny things I noticed so I went to my supervisor. To make a really long story short, it turns out one of the staff members was stealing from us. After more information was obtained, sad to say, both staff members for that office were actually involved in the theft.

I worked long hours for 2 weeks straight, putting all the information together and writing up reports. It was exhausting, stressful and emotionally draining. The one staff member, Motale, that I suspected was stealing was the one that I’ve had the hardest time working with. She’s the one that has driven me to my limits many times. What breaks my heart is that I had no idea Mamotupa was apart of it. The moment I found that out, in the meeting with Ledile (the supervisor), I just bowed my head and looked at my hands. I knew that if Motale was stealing, she was going to have to be fired but at that moment, I knew that Mamotupa would have to go as well. She would never have done it if it weren’t for Motale. Motale was the poison that seeped into so many days, spread her bad attitude around and held Mamotupa back. I was hurt that Mamotupa would agree to something like that, and sad that she didn’t have the strength to say no.

There was a bunch of back and forth between Leigh and the committee and I was the go between. The committee wanted leniency but Leigh, and frankly I felt the same way, wouldn’t have it. How can we honestly fundraise and assure our donors that we are taking care of their money if we keep the 2 people that consciously stole from us! They stole money that goes directly to feeding orphans. It doesn’t get any lower than that.

As far as I’m concerned, good riddance Motale – I’m glad her nasty, infectious attitude is gone. I’m sad that Mamotupa is gone but she made her peace with us. When we told her, she was really torn up and it took every ounce of my energy to not cry with her. But she accepted the consequences and was glad that the money she stole was taken out of her stipend and going back to the orphans – she knew that was the right thing to do. Motale showed no remorse and then told people at the office that I fired her. Yes, that’s the kind of person she is. I didn’t even speak during the meeting – Ledile did all the talking!

As Acting-Manager, I had to play a big role in the whole process. Ledile was an amazing guide throughout the whole ordeal. She was able to keep her emotions out of it, always professional. I learned a lot from her, by just talking with her and watching how she wouldn’t let the set backs stop her from moving forward. At one point she told me that even if everyone is against you, you must keep moving forward and not waver in what you believe and know is right. Sooner or later, the people around you will come around – they will understand and see the bigger picture in the end. She’s a wise woman and I’m glad that I’ve been able to work with her.

And that is why I enjoyed every minute of my holiday and didn’t think twice about work. But those stories are coming, for now I’m off to bed in order to tackle yet another busy and long day tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My gosh, Chrisy, what a lot of responsibility. I am proud of you!! You are really growing and learning.
If you get time, I would like to hear about your ACTS retreat. Did you experience anything?
Mary Alice