sort of felt like it was high time i sent through an update on the haps on our little island…now that we’re falling into more of a rhythm with everything, it all feels a little less blog-worthy!
nevertheless, life here is still exciting and challenging, and the lessons just keep on coming! let’s see…where did we leave off? oh, yes…that was me, planning once again to leave a dear john letter with organization B…listen, people – i don’t want to hear anything about the fickle nature of a woman, but i suppose i should admit…i’ve had a re-think.
now, to be fair, i must inform that this all came about following an indescribably therapeutic three-way skype call i had with two gurus of all things pertinent to my present dilemma – patience, activism, and my sometime drama queen antics…i am endlessly amazed by their thoughtful processing every time i approach them with something pressing like this…it’s like having agony aunts for friends, i tell you!
at any rate, my two beloved shrinks had lots to say – some of which contradicted entirely…and sometimes that was just from one of them! but this is how we roll when we advise each other (seriously, i think the language of close women when they get to the nitty-gritty of a particular problem is something unreal!)…letting all the possibilities flow from our tongues lest they be overlooked and perhaps the best solution is lost, etc. so many supportive things to say, and so many different angles i’d not yet considered…and then M said something mighty interesting…she said this: ‘look, you’ve basically got two options [i’d said exactly those words to chris several times]: either you stay [that part, too], or you do things her way [but not THAT!]’ well, well, well…now in all fairness to moi, i have certainly tried to ascertain, at least, what her way would be, such that i could go about my work in the way she wanted. but that was all subconscious normal subordinate-to-supervisor type stuff. this is something different – i’m now thinking that i have to be very explicit about that aspect, i.e., ‘N, i really want to do things your way…but i just need a clearer idea of your expectations,’ etc. and then just really and truly owning that…as much as it makes me want to extract every single tiny hair from my head whilst poking myself in the eye with a pair of tweezers. repeatedly. so that’s part of my new tactic.
the other thing is that there is one staff member who is provided by one of the donor organizations as a sort of consultant, and she has just returned from germany having been away for some time. i pretty much pounced on her when she got back, and it has been so incredibly refreshing to hear my own grievances echoed by her, as well as a particularly touching consideration on her part – that i’m the only member of staff who has to go through N for absolutely every aspect of my work…other staff and volunteers have some autonomy about what they do, but not me! so it was just good to hear that said, i guess.
and the bottom line is that i do love this organization…every time i go to iligan i feel closer and closer to the staff, and i really do learn so much, about the work they’re doing, and therefore the issues they’re addressing and the general international response to said issues, but also about myself, my weaknesses, my strengths, and all that. i hate giving up, and i really don’t want to…plus every time i feel like i’ve run out of patience, something draws me back…almost like the universe is trying to communicate that i really should stay on. or something. watch this space – i might have changed my mind by wednesday.
as to organization C, M – the executive director – seems to be feeling a lot better. she’ll be going to manila for a few days. last week i ran a consultation session with the kids about the proposed cafe that we’re going to try to open…it was so great – they were absolutely astonishing! so much confidence, such great ideas…but the best part was that i was faced with 13 kids, all high school-aged, who were completely and totally invested in this session…and it went for two and a half hours! they stayed focused, and really just contributed so much. now i’ll weave their ideas and thoughts, as well as some pics from the session, into the business plan, and we’re nearly ready to present it to the board…i’ve just got to convince M that it won’t be impossible to get the kind of funding i’m thinking of requesting.
on another note, i should have an interesting couple of weeks ahead…there’s a landfill not far from where we live that i’ve asked to visit. the social worker, L, will accompany me there…every time we pass by on the jeep, we see loads of kids of all ages scavenging throughout the site…M says that if you visit the community and go into their homes, you’ll find all sorts of electronic gadgets they’ve jimmied together from bits and bobs they found in the landfill. she said all their clothes come from it as well, and that discussions around hygiene are really hard to broach when the community has thrived off of the landfill for the past couple of generations. apparently there’s a pretty significant gang problem there, as well – issues about territory, etc. there’s a swiss bloke running the support services there…i’m really keen just to meet him and learn about how he’s addressing the work and all that.
on thursday i’ll accompany L to the prison…every month organization C makes a trip down to the prison to supply the kids with basic necessities not provided for by the prison, and also to just sit with them and have a chat…i’m guessing it’s pretty rough in there. and on friday M will be giving a talk at a local university on the psycho-social impact of the intervention methods used by the organization. monday and tuesday i’ll be in iligan with organization B, and on wednesday, D, one of the project officers, will be flying in from manila to cagayan de oro, and so will pass by here to help me tidy up some stuff for the web i’ve been working on. so if i’m anything, i’m certainly not bored!
oh! and i got me my first professional writing gig! which is pretty stinking awesome! snagged it on elance, and while it’s not huge and doesn’t pay loads, every little helps, as they say in tescoland. mostly i’m just stoked to be able to say i’m being paid for my words! super exciting.
so that’s me for the mo’! more soon…