Heading back home

March 24, 2007

It is my last hour in Tulum, and I want to use it to give you a review on our last days of work here. 

We had shifted our final meeting and cross-training day from Thursday to Friday, because of two reasons: It was good to have an additional working day, and I did not have enough to fill a whole day, so it seemed a good idea to have both parts (cross-training and presentation of final results) together. Now we lack a little the “calm down” period, a relaxing last day with hanging around, talking about the project, giving feedback and brainstorming about ways to improve it. We did that last night over dinner a little bit though…

On Wednesday evening, Kate came from the UN Foundation, which we were very much looking forward to in order to gain some more background information on how the project was chosen, what they actually expected from us, what are their objectives behind the World Heritage Alliance, etc. Over time, we continually got more and more of that information.

On Thursday afternoon, Kate and me went to meet Manuel from CTSK and Fernando from RARE to discuss a little the cross-training project as well as overall UNF and RARE cooperation. It was a good meeting that made me modify my presentation and plans for Friday a little. On Thursday, we were most of the day fitting our parts of the presentation together and trying to get it translated, with Heber’s help from back home. We were running late, which is something I really don’t like, but finally all the presentation was put together and until dinner I even managed to translate my part, so I was feeling very relieved then.  Friday was the big day, and my part was the whole morning. We first had a volunteer from GVI here who spent some time discussing how to work with Xyaat on their English and when – now she goes their for at least 6 weeks in June.

Then we had CTSK and Xyaat talk about how they could envision their cooperation for cross-training, and we also had some mentorship from the side of CTSK to show what obstacles CTSK had to overcome and how they managed to do that. Our results of that half-day are quite good I feel – several training days have been agreed upon, with absolutely necessary topics. For example, next week CTSK develops a new tour – the whole process of defining, refining, structuring a tour will be so important for Xyaat to see how it should be done and what you really need to keep in mind. Then in the beginning of April, CTSK designs and prints new marketing brochures, parts of it in cooperation with hotels of the region – this too will give Xyaat a chance to see how to work together with other businesses. 

So, although I feel there were several things that could have been done differently / better, the results still are kind of what we hoped for. Also, as soon as you let people start working together, usually they continue and new ideas appear – so I am glad I achieved my most important objective of fixing some specific dates and areas of internship for Xyaat. Our worry is a bit that we are not sure in how far Xyaat actually can use the suggestions that we gave them in the afternoon. The others of our team were presenting their results, and although some product suggestions are easy to be implemented and they have all the marketing brochures, I am not sure whether they will really get the brochures printed and distributed, and whether they actually analyze their costs and implement the changes that we suggested (and that only would make them survive as a business) seems very questionable to me. I guess it is just so important to do some follow-up, and also to start from our side with just an email or so, asking how they’re doing, whether there is anything we can help with…  

I hope we have done a good job, and I hope our work makes the Xyaat business more viable than it was until now. What I also hope for is to see our feedback implemented in the next programmes (and Kate was so keen on getting our feedback that I have the impression she will take care is will all be taken into account!). As we said, this is still a pioneer programme as it was last June, so we should soak up any experience to make it better with every step we take. 



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