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6th Moment: Osama Bin Laden, Work Experience, and Dinner Drama

Osama bin Laden in Pakistan: No, I did not meet him. But I almost buy a book by him in Pakistan during a short mission, only that I hesitated for fear that it might get me into trouble. They were very strict and suspicious to foreigners. They cannot even buy a phone Sim card without clearance from the police. But I was cleared to buy some good stuff like a leather pilot bag, and good copies of CD’s of classic movies like “The Messenger” and “Lion of the Desert” of the great Anthony Quinn. I reached as far as Madan, an old district in the North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan and experienced meeting with villagers under the watchful eyes of armed men. The meeting is always attended by men, because male foreigners are not allowed to see their women. ------------------------------ Work experience: When I was assigned in Sri Lanka to work on the post-tsunami rehabilitation project of ILO, I was visited by our donor from the Belgian Development Agency. We were having dinner in the hotel where I was staying in Ampara district when a white gentleman approached us and introduced himself as also working for an international organization. In our conversation the gentleman told vainly told us that he had 20 years already of experience in working in post-crisis areas. I thought my donor guest was impressed until the guy left and he whispered to me, “Rudy, that guy is bragging about one year of experience repeated 20 times!” --------------------------- Automotive management model: Long time before I decided to be a community development worker, I was an auto mechanic for 5 years, having finished a vocational course in automotive mechanic. I never thought that my experience in the trade will be helpful to me in my subsequent job in project management. It’s easy to relate basic management principles with the automobile and in driving it: The various part of the vehicle plays their respective part in the whole system in relation with the driver or manager, the passengers and the road. But in order to learn about it you must enroll in my seminars. I charge a small amount of fare approved by the LTFRB for my maintenance. BTW do you know that the word FARE, which is a noun, has a past tense? The past tense is PAID! ---------------------------- Printable tidbits: • You can award yourself a gold medal after conquering the Great Wall of China. After you climb buy yourself a replica in the many stalls below, wear it, bite it and take your selfie! • The effectiveness of village meetings is when the number of people attending is increasing every time you call for them! If decreasing, either you stop activities or change your strategy. • In one visit to a village in Nepal I was feed by the villagers with buckets of local food, fruits, fish, chicken and other stuff that I thought I will be hanged the following day! ------------------------------ How to treat high public officials: When I was still an Executive Director of TESDA I was tasked by the Director general to host a conference of high TVET officials from the SEA member countries. In the first evening I thought of giving them a man’s night by bringing them to a night club in Pasay City. One delegate hesitated, being a Muslim, but the rest of the group forced him to go. So, we went together as a group. The following day they were very happy. The DG asked what happened why all the participants were animated. I said we had very productive work during the first day. The following evening the same guy who was hesitant to go with us the previous night was over ecstatic and signaled to everyone “I am ready for tonight”! ---------------------------- Truth and consequence: An official from the donor Spanish government went to visit our projects in Mindanao for the MNLF. Before we boarded the vehicle, she told me, “Rudy you have to tell me the truth about the project, I have been to many projects before and I know whether they staff is telling the truth or not”. So, when we reach the project site, I turned her over to the project beneficiaries. She talked to them in English, but the beneficiaries answered her in the local dialect. Hesitantly she called me to ask what the project is all about! ----------------------------- Talking of inflation: When I came home from my project assignment in Jamaica in 1997, I gave my daughters $100 each. They did not sleep all night thinking what they will buy with $100. Two years after, I handed both $1,000 each – they just took it with a whimper. ---------------------------- Dinner drama on Poverty: In order to impress to my children that poverty is not a hindrance to education I put drama on it. One dinner time I told them my story; How I would go to school with only one pair of wooden bakya (slipper) the whole year, how I would add a stick to my pencil so that it can be used longer, how my mother would gather unused pages of old notebooks to sew them together into a usable one, how she used old flour bags as my shirt by cutting two corners for my arm and one at the center for my neck, and how my shirt would be the center of attention of my classmates because of the loud colored print; Victoria Flour Mills. When I asked them how they feel my youngest said, “Maybe you looked so funny Dad!” ----------------------------- Having worked for years in Mindanao an old friend asked me whether I have already embraced Islam as my religion, he even asked me for my new name. I said, “No, I am still a Christian, maybe not a good one, but I think I am genuine because I respect and will defend the faith of my Muslim brothers and sisters”.

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