Finished the second day of our meetings. Strange but true, I really enjoyed the meeting, although the title of this event: "Quarterly Project Management Meeting" sounds very dry. We've been working together long enough that the management stuff is pretty much taken care of - reporting, organizational structure, systems for doing things - are pretty much set. So we actually talked about substance - how to help certain people, how to make referrals happen more quickly, and content for next year's village chiefs meetings.
I gave a class on mental health, which started off with a discussion on 'what is mental health?' Most people assumed the term for mental health means pathology. We discussed cultural definitions of mental health and illness. People brought up their difficulties in interviewing people about mental health issues and we talked about what seemed to help, such as taking the person to a quiet place to talk, waiting for the person to answer, asking questions more than giving answers, listening rather than speaking. We've also been analyzing information on people's lives through six dimensions - health, mental health, family/ society/ environment, education/ vocational training, economic, culture/ religion - and we went through a case study that one of the people in the meeting had brought up the day before.
At the end of the day, I hosted a small party - Lao grilled fish 'burritos' - take a piece of fish, place it on a piece of lettuce, add some fermented rice noodles and herbs, wrap it up and dip it in a sauce made from fish sauce, chile peppers, peanuts and herbs - and wash it down with Lao beer.
I would insert of picture of the food-laden table right here - but I forgot my camera to upload the pictures. Edit: OK, got everything today so here's a picture of the spread. Yes, those are rolls of toilet paper on the table, much better than napkins!