Saturday, May 30, 2009

Trying times.

I don't want this post to have a wet-sponge, depressed feel to it so I'll keep the first part short:

These past two months have been tough for a number of reasons. I've lost a number of people who were close to me; both stateside and here in the Peace Corps community; some temporary and some permanent. Saying goodbye to friends leaving the country was hard. Not being able to be at a funeral in the US was difficult. Going to a funeral in the village was tough. All of these made the dealing with my dissatisfaction with my work here as a volunteer a catalyst for a slump.

Although these things have been tough for me, I really don't want to dwell on it and become a self-martyr. They're not the purpose of this post. The topic of this post is about change. I think true change comes about when someone is faced with the difficulties of life; when enough bad things happen to finally make the afflicted stop everything and consider the options for the elements of their life in which they do control. For me, that was work; and personally, it took a lot for me to say to myself that I wasn't happy with my last year's performance, even if it had been in the back of my mind for a long while. I wasn't getting things done that I wanted done and couldn't figure out why things were in a perpetual state of failure. I attributed it to a fairly big step in my life: I wasn't living on a schedule. In fact, life doesn't have a schedule... anymore at least. Up until now, my life has been dictated by schedules. Professors told me when to hand in assignments. Bosses told me when to arrive at work and what to do. Parents told me when to attend functions and make decisions that would affect my later life. But is that life? Is that what makes, continues, and determines life? If one of my local farmers wait for someone to tell him to go out, weed or plant his field, is he going to harvest? No chance.

My greatest fear is to return feeling like my time could have been better spent in the US. I've been told just being here in the village and becoming part of the community is enough to make the unique, Peace Corps experience worthwhile; and they're absolutely right. But it would be a massive personal defeat if my village thought I could have done more; or worse yet, if I thought I could have done more.

So for these past few months of taking blow after blow, they hopefully have driven me to realize some remnant of a lesson: Do. Don't dwell, don't overplan, don't stall, don't procrastinate, don't try. Do.

With that in mind, I've been jump starting, reviving, and developing a number of projects for the area. Environmental clubs, chickens, agriculture, soccer, HIV/AIDS, alternative fuels, poverty relief, and primary school field trips have been in the forefront of my mind as of late and I'm really pushing myself to make these next few months productive ones. Let's see how many I can make happen.