Solomon Islands: Jehovah’s Witnesses Open Day
COMMERCIAL buildings, for the most part, do very little to inspire humanity to aspire for excellence, however, buildings designed and built for religious purposes tend to assist individuals and sometimes entire communities to higher levels of excellence.
Such is the experience awaiting those who have the courage of their individual convictions but will not allow their ego/prejudice to keep them away from the experience of harmony, balance, comfort, warmth and serenity.
Since the beginning, I have watched out of curiosity the construction programme of the Jehovah’s Witnesses facility.
But now something new was about to emerge from its construction foundations to facilitate a small, dedicated community of its faithful believers who would carry out its goals and objectives.
Just what the buildings’ ultimate appearance would be, as I thought at that time, remained an unknown quantity.
As the months rolled by I observed local women perform duties usually reserved for men such as driving a fork lifter and bending/shaping steel reinforcing bars per the job specifications; other local and overseas volunteers joined the “labour of love” and formed what might be called an unofficial U.N. community labour force.
The atmosphere on site was one of communal happiness – men and women from various cultures working to achieve a common goal.
What an emotionally moving experience.
But that was then and now to my delight, during the closing days of 2009 the Jehovah’s Witnesses announced in the local media that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were planning an Open Day for visitors.
On Saturday, 9 January 2010 about 9am a friend and I visited the new Jehovah’s Witnesses complex at Panatina.
The entry gate posts, the driveway and walking surfaces were finished to the point of wonderment.
If this is the workmanship on the outside then what must the inside be like?
Our car was the first car to park so we saw the well manicured landscaping and the freshly painted administration building without the distraction of other cars.
As it was such a short walk to the front glass double doors one got a glimpse of the foyer’s interior and, we were met by an assemblage of local and international greeters who set the atmosphere for the remainder of our tour.
Climbing the stairs to see the first exhibit we were impressed with the presenter’s serenity and the completeness of the information as to how Awake and Watch Tower are published.
Little did we know it but that first experience set the tone for recognising the efficient spaces and their related activities such as in the sound room/recording studio, three person offices and the morning conference room.
The interior space is a scene of transcended splendour.
Various scenario paintings of Jesus Christ by Jehovah’s Witnesses’ artists adorned the walls and I thought they were of a quality worthy of separate publication for presentation as gifts.
Leaving the administration building we crossed to the residential wing to see the guest living unit and again the designed space was a joy to behold – entry, lounge, sleeping, ablutions, food preparation area, including a four burner stove/oven with a range hood, walk in wardrobe all comfortably and efficiently arranged in a compact setting.
I jokingly asked if they could set aside an accommodation for me.
As we ascended the stairs to the first floor our guide said the upper floor staff accommodations are similarly laid out as the ground floor.
Returning to the lower floors to see the next wing we met the barber in his neat but fully appointed little space.
He greeted us with the smile typical of all of the presenters and shared his role of service to the small community of brethren.
He cuts the men’s hair and the women perform that duty themselves.
The grounds people and their shops, their attitude, the available and useful appropriate technology etc. etc. etc all in place.
Maintenance of joinery assets; the hydraulic lift in the motor workshop – hospital clean, very impressive.
We then visited the laundry room and all of the above praiseworthy comments are applicable as well to this space and the individuals who provide the much needed service for hygiene maintenance for the entire staff.
Ah, the kitchen, as the most demanding place for hygiene upkeep was functional, efficient, stainless steel everything, everywhere; ceramic tile floor, freshness, openness and the chef’s spirit – wonderful.
If they offered meals for sale to the public it would be my favourite spot to eat.
One of the immutable Laws of God is the prescription for humanity to strive to archive excellence in all things.
We are on the path to acquire immaculate habits and with our experience of the Jehovah’s Witnesses facility they surely understand the requirements that echo the phrase “…cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
Overall, the total facility is triple ‘A’.
It could serve as a model for the Solomon Island community to see what can be done here regardless of who the designated user may be.
I asked for and received copies of their overall maintenance check list/schedule and after reviewing it, it would behove every Government entity that has responsibility for maintaining government improvements/assets to request copies of the documents as a how-to-do-it reference and to understand the thoroughness of how the Jehovah’s Witnesses perform their duties.
The designer, the conglomerate labour force and the current administrators could be said to have created a jewel in paradise.
And the challenge is how do we replicate it?
The buildings represent immaculacy, orderliness, (low-key designed exterior, jaw- dropping interior workmanship).
It is one of the best representations of faith in action.
The spiritual attributes of love, fellowship and unity are reflected in the manner in which the buildings were planned, designed, built and now being used.
If there is ever a question by decision makers of whatever persuasion as to what example in the Solomon Islands we can emulate to achieve excellence in all things it is to the Jehovah’s Witnesses facilities and people at Panatina that you may turn to, for they, the buildings and the people’s love for Jehovah raised the bar to the desired height to assist Solomon Islanders to reach a capable level of excellence that they never expected was possible.
If you missed it (it is still not too late to see it). Buildings are/can be a reflection of its owners and this is certainly true of the Jehovah Witnesses facility.
If your position is that of an MP, PS or government manager/administrator.
If you missed the Jehovah’s Witnesses Open Day with the lovely presenters, make it a point to request another time to visit.
It will be the most pleasant building inspection you will have for a long time to come; be sure to take notes because the experience may be the beginning of something good for the city of Honiara and the Solomon Islands.
By DON BOYKIN
Source: Solomon Star