The news from Buja is very bad.
I feel almost as if I’m channeling Churchill saying that. “The news from France is very bad.” Of course, Churchill is referring to the whole world, and I am only referring to the narrow little two story world my Burundian team inhabits.
A subsidy was lost, and a wave of layoffs followed. Once again, I won’t go into excruciating detail, revealing all I know didn’t help anyone. It’s who was laid off that is like a slap in the face. The friendly rasta photographer, Vianney the sweetheart of a web editor, Lise and her entire Kirundi desk, including Pascal whose wife just gave birth to a baby girl last week…and my Bosco. Why him? I have my little idea, but Jean-Charles taught me (by example) that sometimes it’s wiser not to reveal all you know–or all you suspect.
The English section is now composed of Félicie and Pierre by themselves. On the one hand I’m jealous of Félicie for being a section head at 25 years old, on the other hand I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy…because as a section head of a two-person section you have to do everything that I did (finding stories, hassling contributors, rewriting press releases, setting up photoshoots, writing web copy, proofreading everything, helping with layout) plus translations, writing print copy and proofreading yourself (yuck!). and Félicie is doing all of this in her third language. It’s almost inhuman.
And Bosco…why did Damien lay off Bosco?
The way in which the layoffs were conducted makes my skin crawl– according to reliable sources, they were conducted via letters sent around the office by another highly ranked colleague while Damien was in Europe.
Whatever really happened, it was such that Damien couldn’t or wouldn’t look his staff members in the eye.
I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Damien was just in a hurry, maybe he did not intend his approach to be doubly hurtful. But the optics stink. It’s very disillusioning.
And where is Jean-Charles in all this? Back in Canada. Undergoing cancer treatment. Bosco seems extremely worried about him. I don’t know what is going to happen with him because, true to form, he does not like revealing details about himself. Damien asked me to find out what was up with him, and I learned he was back in his hometown, “surrounded by friends and family” but “in a bad mood.” I don’t believe anyone wants to or is about to add to his difficulties by asking him to help us. Bosco and I are going to do what we can to help the team. But the news, in general, is very bad.