Yes I have been quite the last couple of months. It’s been hectic, I’ve been tired and had a few health things surface that I have needed to deal with as well. All this led to me having to step away from the keyboard for a few weeks. So strap in for a brief overview of the last couple of months. I guess at times you just have to survive so you can go on to thrive again, so I’ve just been taking the steps to get back to thriving lately.
In April I traveled for the National Enabling Good Lives in Hamilton, in the last few months Ben and I have flown quite a bit but this was the first time I have had a flight cancelled. I usually travel the night before the meeting but on this occasion, due to the cancellation of my flights I was a coupe of hours late to this meeting.
While in Hamilton I took the time to catch up with Ingrid, who I had met on the Networking Working Group for the system transformation and have a meal. I had a pretty good sleep and then the following day I finally met Mike Pulman. Mike and I have chatted online and are both part of the Content Creators Network but we had never actually met face to face so it was awesome to finally met up. Mount Ruapehu put on an amazing sight as we headed for home that afternoon.
|Mike Pulman and I|
The following week was a huge milestone for the last few months of work for the Disability Support Services System Transformation, Minster Carmel Sepuloni and Minister Julie-Anne Genter made the official announcement that the Cabinet Paper that gives the go-ahead for the prototype in Mid-Central had been signed off and it was “GO TIME”. For us on the Regional Leadership Group this was both a sigh of relief that we had the go-ahead but also a deep breath as we knew the workload coming is going to be huge. For the disability community this is a big step in gaining autonomy over their individual care.
|Myself, Sacha O’Dea & Paul Tesoriero|
The following week we had a very full on Regional Leadership Group meeting with a lot of decisions being made. we had a bit of a chat about how the meetings were working and we made the decision that we needed longer meetings in order to have quality decisions rather than just pushing through decisions because a decision “needs” to be made.
Then a few weeks ago I did something that I would not normally consider. I gate crashed a conference. Yes I turned up to a conference that I hadn’t heard of let alone register for, Mike Pulman was the keynote speaker and Jade Farrar was on a round table at the Federation of Disability Information Centers conference. The guys had said to me “just turn up, say you’re with me”, so I did. Although I felt a little uncomfortable I met a lot of people, and ended up being on a panel with Jade and Mike talking about what opportunities that providers can have within the “new system”. As it turns out I was invited back for day two of the conference. I was really glad I didn’t have anything on so I could make the most of the opportunity. I met a lot of people that are passionate about providing good quality, relevant information to those with impairments.
|Myself, Jade & Mike|
To follow up with some of the conversations started at the conference Jade decided to have a bit of a panel discussion over on Twitch with Mike Pulman. We had a bit of chat about some of the things that we see as being needed for people of mixed abilities to actually achieve their aspirations.
I then “ran away” for an overnight trip car camping. This was a spontaneous trip due to a cancelled meeting so I just through stuff in the car, loaded up the dog and left. Most people thought I was a wee bit foolish due to the cold (around freezing at night) but I’ve been in these conditions before and took plenty of “cold weather” clothing; I figured if worst came to worst I was only an hours drive from home and that if it completely went to hell I could throw my gear in the car and head home. I went off to Kumeti Campground, where we had tried to camp a few months ago but there were too many people. Again I arrived to an empty campground, with about 2 hours of sunlight left and got straight into getting the tent up, fire wood processed and dinner organised. As I was getting myself organised a people-mover camper set up arrived with 2 guys, who parked on the other side of the campground.
Being the person I am I had checked the DoC website for the information about the campground and had taken note of “Bring Firewood for the BBQ” and had picked up a couple of bags of wood from the service station on the way. If camping at a campground at a road end I will often take my own wood anyway as so often the campground and surrounding areas are completely stripped of any firewood; besides that, lets face it, its wet a lot of the time and finding dry wood can be a challenge. Well the guys in the people-mover learnt this, they managed to get a small fire going, then spent a considerable time crashing about the bush looking for wood, in the mean-time the small fire they had managed to start had died out. The other lesson these guys probably learnt was that although NZ doesn’t predators that want to eat you while you are out and about that there are other animals that will consider your kitchen gear and anything else left out as fair game. Or at least they should have learnt that from the crashing of pots and pans and the loud angry European language I heard in the middle of the night.
I had a reasonable nights sleep and was just getting started for the day when I had a mishap. My leg went into spasm and I managed to knock water over, inside my tent. Considering that the projected high for the day was 5 degrees C and down to freezing overnight, I wasn’t confident that I was going to get my gear dry during the day and I wasn’t prepared to head for freezing with wet gear so I pack up and headed for home. Although the trip wasn’t as long as I had hoped for, it was much needed as there is something therapeutic about going about the tasks of meeting your basic needs. I don’t think I can explain how calming it is to watch the fire die down and the stars come out.
Last week was another busy one with another round of meetings for the Regional Leadership group. A lot of reading is involved at the moment with careful consideration around some decisions being needed. As we head towards the October 1st prototype launch it is heartening to see things take shape. Sure we aren’t always 100% happy about some things but we are doing our best to overhaul a huge system that has never been set up with the people it serves in mind, this is the time we can make the biggest change that NZ has ever seen for those with impairments. We are hopeful that this system transformation can be a positive change in the lives of New Zealanders.
So I guess that is the brief overview of the last couple of months.
Take care, stay safe and thrive not survive!