04 September 2012

Are you saying "yes?"

One of the most difficult things for me in cross-cultural communication is hear the answer to "yes" or "no" questions...

In an indirect culture the answer to big "yes" or "no" questions is rarely that easy... unfortunately due to my persistent (others may say annoying) personality I often keep pushing for an answer after everyone else in the room has already heard it...

Yesterday was one of those days!

We have been working with the National Council for Higher Education for a year seeking permission to become a University... along the way we have had plenty of obstacles... all told we have filled out 3 different applications, received 2 visits from the council and have had many meetings at their offices along the way that often ended in more confusion... but yesterday we got our big shot!

The NCHE gave us 60 minutes to present our case before 7 Council members (including the Deputy Director) as to why they should allow us to become a university... we couldn't find another University that had been through this process before and we receive only general counsel like... bring pictures, videos, stats, figures, supporting documents, etc... but nothing specific so in my eyes we were flying blind!

Once we made it in the room (Pastor Peter, another Board member, two staff and myself) it was a rather intimidating set up. Everyone had their pads of paper and pens out with a look on their face that said "try to impress me!"

The presentation gave them a picture of our board, staff, programs, infrastructure and finance along with evidence of our continual growth over the last 6 years. After it was finished the members started firing away some tough questions which we handled fairly well... but they kept asking and asking and it went on for almost 45 minutes after the presentation.

Afterwards I was exhausted and confused as to what their impression was of us but when I went outside my four companions were all smiling and celebrating. I was lost at this point so I asked what happened. They all replied "Didn't you hear their questions?" Of course I did... that is why I was perspiring so much!

They informed me that the questions were all referring to steps we would need to take to be a university. Meaning that the Council was confident we would become a University.

Still confused I joined the celebration... wondering why they did just say "yes!" and congratulate us??? But in this indirect culture the answer was clear... by September 19th (when the Council sits again) we should expect to be awarded a Letter of Interim Authority to Operate a Private University!

Thanks for all the prayers yesterday! Even though I didn't hear it clearly - the answer was "yes!"


HollyB said...

yahoo! :-)

Megan Miranda said...

That's great news!