Upswing

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, and it could just be wishful thinking tricking my brain into thinking it’s true, but I think I’m feeling better. The sunny weekend after something like 10 days of gloom and rain (and a resulting state of calamity due to infrastructural damages) due to a tropical storm probably helped too.

Workwise, I’m picking up the pieces and doing what I can as the what remains of the muni hobbles along. After I get my hands on some blue ocean colored paint I can start on that world map. Applications for the girls leadership camp went out last week and it has already received some good buzz around town (and 3 participants so far!). This week I’ll be focusing on Halloween vocabulary with my youth groups to prep for some small parties next week. And I’m putting together that proposal for the mayor and preparing to be Fuerte Licensiada Carmen come January to ensure that this new administration benefits from everything I have to offer. There’s no time to waste.

Outside the office things have also been going well. In fact, I’ve been in integration overdrive the past few days. First, I went to a velorio (wake). Yes, it was sad (particularly because the deceased happened to be a relative of my old host family), but wakes are also treated as just another venue for social interaction for people in town and I got to catch up with a few people I haven’t seen recently… and eat free sandwiches… So it wasn’t quite as depressing as it sounds. Then I took a little roadtrip to another town with my musician friends to watch their band rehearse and had some quality roadtrip bonding chats. It almost felt like being back home in Vegas with the boys. This was followed by more bonding at my neighbors house where they marveled at my macbook and snooped all of my photos (I had a hard time explaining just why I go to so many costume parties back home…). And then today I went to a baby shower.

It’s not exactly what I would have considered an action packed weekend in the states, but it was just what I needed to help push me out of my slump. An email I got from a friend also helped. She’s from my town and I met her last winter when she was visiting her parents for Christmas. She now lives in the states (in Las Vegas, funnily enough) and has been a huge source of support during my time here. And her words this week really hit a chord.

“People like you and organizations like  Peace Corps really make a difference in this society that needs both you and people who believe in the importance of education to transform society. It’s frustrating to work on projects that seem not to work on a short scale, but in a large scale it does  work, we can’t see it but there will be someone, a boy  a girl who would listen to your  words and you will transform their lives eventually.”
As a volunteer, this is what we are told and are supposed to believe. But, you know, some days it just falls short. It doesn’t feel like enough. It doesn’t feel like it’s working or that it’s making any difference. But to be reminded of “the point” of it all by someone else, someone who hasn’t sat through training and hasn’t been fed the gospel of development, an outsider who can see the goal and understands the worth of what we’re trying to do means a lot.
Also, this.
“It is  very important what you do for people now, but what is more important about all this is what you are becoming while doing it.”
She’s so right. I’m not who I was when I stepped into staging over a year ago. I won’t be the same when I (hopefully) COS next October. Every day, whether it be full of laughs with my neighbors or tears of frustration because I still can’t get this bottle school project to go anywhere, matters and helps me to figure out what is important and what is next. So, with these words I head into another workweek and am, for the first time in a while, am feeling almost optimistic.
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