the not-so-tiny fish swimming with the sharks….

I usually tell people that I am the only girl / female at my construction site….however, that is entirely not true. What I intend to mean when I say that, is that on my team, I am the only female; i.e. on the project supervision team….and the team that sits down at meetings and takes part in making certain decisions.

There are so many other females at the site…there are ladies that clean, cook and some also take part in the light construction activities…that the men find ‘a waste of time’…okay not exactly that…but the men would be more useful doing heavier work.

Today, just like I have done on so many other days of the project, I decided to take a site walk; now that is something  I do once or twice a week because of the huge size of the site (3 acres….in lay man’s language, that is about 3 soccer pitches) and extensiveness of the works. If I had to do it every day, it would mean I walk 3 acres, and up 3 floors….if you have a calculator, do the maths and compute that area…it’s definitely not something you would compare to sitting around in a rotating chair in an air conditioned office and swinging the morning away. Anyhow, that is not what this post is about…

I had seen this lady on the electrical team before, but had never really stopped to chit chat with her because I didn’t want to seem like I was distracting her work, and I didn’t know how she would take the whole idea of me asking about how she finds her work…I mean, I am not her boss; she has nothing to answer to me….so anyhow, today, I stopped and said hello.

She was doing some wiring installations and I watched as she did everything with such skill, something you wouldn’t find an ‘ordinary’ girl doing…. Even myself, with my not-so-little knowledge about construction, I sort of didn’t know what she was doing so I asked. She explained to me and I realized people like her on this project are the ‘real thing’. Yes, the design team does its work and we supervise, but there are people like her that do the real hands on implementation. If she, or her team didn’t do their part….the project would actually stall. On her team of about eight, she is the only girl and she seemed good at what she was doing and I was actually impressed.

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Just when I thought I was all macho and having my very own “girl-in-a-man’s-territory” experience on this project, I realized, she was way better than me….she doesn’t sit at a computer like me for half the day reading, interpreting and updating documents or whatever, and decide what two days of the week, to do her site walks, she actually gets her hands dirty…literally!

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After those 5 minutes talking with her, I felt I had no right to consider myself that girl in a man’s territory…if it were a sea, I’m just in the shallow end near the shore but this super cool electrical girl is out there swimming with the sharks…I mentally saluted her and on my list of bed-time-prayer items, I will ask God to give her the desires of her heart and make her even more successful than she would like to be!

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