jueves, 4 de agosto de 2011

Learning to say no (June 16, 2010)

This is one of my biggest challenges – saying no – not only to those around me, but also, and most importantly to myself. I have such the bad habit of metiéndome en demasiadas cosas (getting myself involved in too many things). Hopefully the next two years will be the opportunity to acknowledge this and work on it. It’s so hard to control the onslaught of the plethora of ideas that pass through my mind. Especially when they can be so applicable to my surroundings and when there is so much dysfunction as to where I am working...

I haven’t written for some time honestly because I went through a mini-depression, kept myself over-occupied, and had a series of unfortunate events happen, including losing my computer and external hard drive. I never have the two together while visiting the ‘big city’ (the capital city of the department of La Libertad) since robberies are ubiquitous. I always leave my external hard drive back in the Sierra to have all my information and work backed up. But, because the cord to my external hard drive was busted, I had to get it replaced and therefore brought it with me to Trujillo, putting the ‘vice-president with the president’. The worst part is it’s my fault. I took a taxi through a shadier part of Trujillo at night to get to the house where the coordinator of a NGO lives with another volunteer and we had a load of things, personal belongings and materials for charlas (trainings), etc. I was guarding the bag with my computer under my legs because robberies can commonly take place through windows. Disembarking at night with no light in the taxi or street, we thought we grabbed everything, did the double-check, quickly paid the driver, and scurried away, trying not to let him on to where we were going for our safety. But… I left the most important thing that was in my possession – my computer and external hard drive. I thought I had grabbed everything, consciously did the double check, but the bag must have fallen further under the seat, which was hard to notice with the lack of light. After spending a couple of days scoping out the black market, posting radio ads and awards, I had to suck up a huge loss that I had never wanted to fathom.
Part of the work lost was my community diagnostic that I had been working incessantly on for some time.

Reading Into the Wild got me through it and I thought I could change my habit of over-committing myself, but I’m coming to that juncture once again where I need to reassess. It’s really so hard when you have so many interests and the community you work in severely lacks basic water and sanitation practices, health education and promotion, good nutrition (my best guess is ~70% malnutrition in children), youth development/education, artisanry, local business, awareness to the damage pesticides do to the soil and health, and, and…

However, after talking with another volunteer, and hearing the residual epiphany of others – you really have to pick 2-3 projects and stick with them, otherwise you seemingly accomplish nothing in your time. Coming the 24th of this month, I will have been 8 months at my Sierra site of Mache. Again, and again I think I constantly am busy working, but what have I accomplished? And especially, when I lost all this ‘information’ I was so steadily clinging onto –

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