"I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them tumble down
No fault, none to blame
It doesn't mean I don't desire to point the finger, blame the other
Watch the temple topple over
To bring the pieces back together, (I must) rediscover communication"
Communication in Bougainville gives me the shits.
There's no internet access in the offices, so there's no email. There goes your ability to quickly and reliably arrange meetings.
There are phone lines, but Telecom sends the bills a few months late, and cancels your power because you didn't pay (having not received the bill…). Even if the bill arrives on time, chances are that the organisation has not budgeted for it and therefore can't pay it. So the phones are effectively mute.
We do have two mobile phone networks running, but they operate erratically, and sometimes have a lovers tiff and refuse to talk to each other.
So one knows that as soon as you need to communicate with more than, say, yourself, things are going to get complicated. For this reason I am often seen running around town, chasing people up and generally trying to get things done ("Mark! You go walkabout?").
Now imagine, as you sit in cubicle #2468, that one of your client/stakeholder meetings had to be arranged with people outside of town and you cannot use email or a phone line. Imagine also that there is no postal service. Messing with your head? Now imagine that a volcano blows up and the mobile phone networks are taken out. Welcome to my day.
''But I'm still right here, given blood, keepin' faith
And I'm still right here…"
Somehow, somehow, it all seems to work out. People are used to that here, and we all end up relying on personal networks…someone who knows someone who knows the person you are trying to get through to.
Serendipity also likes to play a card or two: it's weird how often I will bump into the very person I am looking for while going walkabout, even when I've been told that said person is currently in another town or on another island.
The key is to try and get patience and optimism to hold hands. Get that going and you can trust that it will all work out…eventually.
"Wait it out, gonna wait it out
Quotes from Schism and The Patient by Tool.