By Kevin Wilson
We have all seen how COVID-19 restrictions have affected our regular workplaces. There is so much that has had to be adapted in order to keep connected – while keeping our distance. The Palms office has been no different. Early in the ‘first wave’, Palms staff worked from home. With some restrictions eased we are back in the office now, but how to manage our regular events and engage home communities when we cannot physically gather?
The solution needs little introduction: The proverbial Palms Information Sessions are now being handled via Zoom. On 20 August, Palms held the inaugural online session, featuring returnee Rhoe Price, who enthused the virtual attendees with her experience of Bedois, Timor Leste. They appreciated particularly the freedom of online Q&A.
Buoyed by this success, Palm confidently hosted another session on 30 August. In a Zoom hook-up tailored for teachers especially, we crossed live to participant Liz O’Sullivan and host Fr Reynaldo at Banklothor Public School in Umphang, Thailand, with all the cock-crow of their remote rural community. Again, these new ‘internet stars’ were hit with registrants, with a few even applying!
It’s probably a no-brainer. Increased online confidence among Palms’ target audience, greater connectivity of overseas partners, and decreasing technology costs means Palms events are no longer restricted by location. Enquirers Australia-wide can simply log in and engage live with field participants during their placements. It gives enquirers an immediacy we could only dream of –or could not afford- previously. As one returnee remarked, “It was different from my time”.
Catch up with Bridget in Kiribati at our next session on 18 October.