Why oh why have I not posted anything in a couple of days??? Oh, could it be that we’ve had power issues at uni? And, uh, a new type of internet connection at home that doesn’t work with my Mac until I buy a router (oopsy…)!
Power outages? Apparently there’s something going on with Taraka power station and uni has been on some sort of weird brown out/black out this week. Monday, when I was in the Head of Dept meeting, we lost power and the genset kicked in. The power never came back on for the day, which was fine, considering I left to get my coccyx shot and worked in town the rest of the day. Tuesday, same thing. Power went off around 10 and was off all day. Yesterday, off at 9:30 never to come back on. Basically half the campus had power and the other half nothing. Lovely when I get emails in the morning of stuff to do and then can’t do anything!
A few departments have generators, but most classrooms don’t. The library’s genset caught fire months and months ago and we’ve just been SOL since. Molly’s building and housing must be on the same grid. Someone said that houses never lost power and Molly’s building had power… up until 3:10. I called her about 3:30 and she had gone home. I went over to her house and we drank water while sweating under the non-moving fan. I just don’t get it.
Actually, yesterday morning I was in the middle of composing a memorandum (because that’s what you do here…). Yes, a real, paper memorandum, not an email. I was composing a memo about the urgent need for a departmental laptop. I requested a laptop and projector when I first got here, but I was told that all OHE (Office of Higher Education) funds were used up by other departments, but I would be at the top of the list for next year. Well, surprise, I haven’t seen anything about OHE funding this year. So, I wrote a memo stating that for over a year I’ve been using my personal laptop to run workshops and to use when the power is out, etc. I got the two needed quotes, etc. Then the power went out and I just took the fancy memo paper and hand wrote it out and had Lucy deliver it to my boss’s office!
I get a call from my boss’s secretary that it’s been approved and fill out a GE form. Uh, we have no power. She said she’d fill it out and I could come sign it. Then she calls back and asks Lucy for our department budget account. Uh, hold the phone…. I tell Lucy we have no money for a laptop! This is why I’ve been waiting for OHE funding! My department budget is k5,000. The cheapest laptop quote was for k2800 (with no software), k4500 with software. We’ve already bought memo letterhead this year (yes, we have to buy special printed memo paper) and a few office supplies and, of course, some toilet paper. Lucy said we’ve spent about K600. Plus, I ordered some book prints of a resource guide I created over the holidays. I sent it out to everyone as a pdf, but wanted a couple hard copies. The printing services people charge over town prices and the printing is awful. I’m fighting with them now on redoing them. Anyway, we’re four weeks into Semester 1 and we’ve got quite a long way to go… kind of hard to run a department on about US$1800. I guess this also means that the debate team is going to be out of luck this year. GRRR.
Anyway, I go over to admin and meet with my boss about funding for the laptop. He asked me if I had gotten my consulting money yet and I could use my portion to buy a new laptop. This way I don’t “have to pay taxes”. Yeah, lovely. I know I can use my portion of consultancy money on educational expenses and not get taxed, but I was kind of planning on using “my money” on an extra trip to the States (for a conference, of course!) NOT for buying a work laptop! So, I’m supposed to go and do remote training for the School of Nursing and for the campus in Bulolo. Let me get this straight, I’m using my laptop, carrying it back and forth every day, paying insurance in case it gets stolen, and my Mac has already crashed once and I had to pay for repairs last time I was in the States.
Basically I ended up leaving his office with no resolution for a laptop for my department. I really do just love my boss, as he just rolls with the punches of working at uni all these years! I just so eloquently reminded him on the way out that, although he sent me that email to request to compile a special report by the end of the week, it won’t be done because I’ve had no power for three days. He just said “that’s ok” and I’m to do it whenever the power does come back on and I can chase up the reports from all the departments. Needless to say, I called Molly, which is why I ended up at her house in the arvo!! We should have skipped the water and went straight to tequila shots! She sympathizes about the laptop situation as she uses her Mac to do everything for school as well. And her baby Mac isn’t doing so well either.
Since Molly wasn’t dishing out the tequila, I went up to the hotel for Wednesday meet-up. I just love it because it’s basically whoever’s in town that any of us know. Last night there was the normal crew, plus a drill rigger, an AusAid guy, and some business guy that Alex knows who calls me “professor” probably because he can’t remember my name either!
And on another note, all the hoops of uni have been jumped through for my tickets to the States, except the actual check cutting. I’m eagerly waiting so I can take it to the travel agent who has been really good and actually answers emails! So, yep, everything’s worked out to see the girls for Spring Break as well as for them to come here in August. The agent already sent the quote for that as well. Although I can’t wait to squeeze the girls in the States next month, I’m even more excited about August here in PNG! With all my ranting, I love it here! I can’t wait to share the experience with them!!!