Wednesday, June 15, 2005

just when it seemed to be settling down...

Ted and Tom teach the afternoons, Pad and I mornings. Monday evening when they came home they told us that we'd been deprived of our staff room, and that we had to instead take our breaks in the local administrator, Mahmoud's, office.

I slept on this, and then Padraig and I talked it over at breakfast and decided that we weren't having it. We need a few minutes chill out time between lessons. Besides, we need to prepare exams, and I've been made responsible, (unilaterally by management and without benefit of extra remuneration, I might add), for exams and their security in the Zawia centre.

Over a year's experience out here has shown us that exam scripts and answer sheets are sought out and traded. And Mahmoud's office, indeed any Libyan office, is like a souk, with almost everyone in the building processing through it, shaking hands, salaaming, photocopying and fuck knows what.

It wouldn't work and it wasn't on.

So we went in yesterday morning and we said 'No'. Our staff room was in the process of being made into Someone Else's office, with new chairs in their plastic covers and a desk in the absurdly big local style. But we moved our books and bits and pieces back.

Presumably the two Ts had overseen their removal the night before; which troubles me. Living in such confined circs, one needs to be discreet; so let's just say there's been a bit of coolness since yesterday around the house between those of us who'd been prepared to strike, and those who had stood around with rueful expressions. (That last phrase does not reflect my true feeling by the way; I've had to work hard to come up with something which is not a metaphor that would involve my colleagues performing subservient sexual favours for GECOL administration staff.)

Coincidentally, accidentally, by design or fortuitously a really big cheese from GECOL turned up early doors and agreed with us entirely. Padraig was uncharacteristically rotweiller-like with this fella, which is perhaps what did the trick. We were all ready for a strike, for harsh words, for recriminations and multifarious misunderstandings and swear words. None of that was necessary. It was a walkover. We can drink our Nescafe in peace in our staffroom. For now.

Because the next thing is, apparently, we're to move to a new building 'a kilometre to the north'. This will occur next week. Inshallah and mumkin. Best case scenario is we get a couple of slack days during the transfer. I don't even want to go with the worst cases. My students told me today that the new (to us) building is 'horrible'. (They'd just learned that adjective, so one could question its precision).

Outbursts of torrential rain, accompanied by heavy thunder today.