Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Overseeing and investment

Overseeing the construction work at Sabbavaram, has put me in a dilemma. The work is slow, unsteady, all in patches and nothing synchronised. What pains me most is the time and resources spent on that ... they no where match the outcome!! To make that match, 'someone' has to be there... constantly pulling the masons and others up, giving them directions and definite orders, making sure that deadlines are met and the quality of the whole structure is not compromised. That there is the contractor and a supervisor appointed by him is as good as saying that there is a tree behind the building! Nor am I saying anything new here. 'Someone' ought to be there in person. But my dilemma is, who is this 'someone'?

I remember hearing a couple of years ago that the JMJ Sisters have (had?) a Sister who was incharge of all the constructions in the Province. She had her own team of masons, carpenters, welders, suppliers and all that jing-bang and she would be there to make sure that the building being put up (a JMJ institution, of course) is near perfect. Can we too follow suit? But on the other hand, did we become religious for this? If not one among us, who then will feel the work as 'our' work and get things done right?

However there is another dimension of this whole process that is nagging me. Why at all spend so much on cement and bricks and paint? Why not invest it in people? Make use of existing structures or adapt our expertise and services in such a way that most of our energies is not spent on putting up buildings, in the first place, and the rest, in maintaining those... but on empowering people.

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