Tuesday, July 15, 2008

S2A2 Week 5

Tuesday, 15 July we had the Western Cape Water Caucus meeting. The morning was hectic trying to get everything together, but we got to Obz Community Centre, only a little behind schedule.

Jessica opened the meeting and I feverishly began taking minutes. It was an advantage to have my laptop there in a way, but I felt like I couldn't fully participate since I was trying to record everything around me.

There were a lot of major water issues discussed, but I thought the discussion around the impending failure of water infrastructure was particularly interesting. I don't think it's just a problem in South Africa. I remember hearing about a major water pipe bursting in NYC and a news special about America's "aging cities," which many countries are facing.

Back to the internship though, the rest of the week after the meeting was quieter, but it took quite some time to write up the minutes and follow up with caucus members. I think the most challenging part of helping to organize the meeting was trying to contact everyone and get any sort of feedback about the meeting agenda.

Since not everyone at the meeting belongs to an organization, many people do not have access to a landline or internet so e-mails were not that effective or useful as a means of communication. It's different for me to switch from my usual mode of communication to phone calls. However, there is something to be said for the personal nature of calling, and each place I called had a different background noise. Some places had phones ringing and sounded like offices, while others I called had a baby crying in the background or noisy chatter.

There are a lot of big issues to tackle, and it seems not a lot of support or resources for most civil society organizations here, but there's hope.

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