Where, oh where to begin? The last few weeks have been filled with wonderful surprises and terrible disappointments…all of it guaranteed to make me a better person…right? The truth is that a lot of the things I thought would never actually happen just accidentally – or intentionally – well, did.
Things are moving right along with Organization B…nearly finished with the handbook, and while I know that this 5-year publication won’t be out before I go (L doesn’t think it’ll be finished by the end of the year), we’ve made a good start. When I first began working with the organization, N made it very clear that her team needed a lot of support in documentation, and I suggested a day-long training session, with a follow-up day or 1/2 day thereafter. Initially she responded positively to this, but of course, the dates for which it was set were always cancelled, and it never really came to fruition. But I think the vast amount of work needed to make this publication a reality is becoming clearer, and to that end it has been decided that a Writeshop will take place over two days next week. But the truth is, as I get closer to finishing this handbook (which is currently over 80 pages, and will be roughly 100 when finished), it occurs to me that there was a time when I thought I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the systems and procedures of the organization at all…
Another shocker has been with Organization C…some of you will remember that I spent hours putting together a business plan for a cafe at the request of M, who had informed that it was what she hoped I could do during my time here. Preliminary plan completed, I arranged a consultation with the kids to get their input and to make sure that was a part of the plan in the end, which went really well. Not long thereafter, however, M informed that she didn’t think it would be such a great idea, being as how the neighborhood isn’t the safest. What could I do? Things are what they are, I learn time and again, but lo and behold, within a couple of months she’d begun making little changes here and there – most of which were vaguely in line with the original plan. So much had changed that I asked her if she would want me to get in touch with a coffee producer – Rocky Mountain – based here in the Philippines but owned by French Canadians. She did, so I did, and on Friday we officially opened the cafe! No small feat, but M has really be the instrument behind it’s having come to fruition. In truth, I would have loved to contribute more, but most of the time I’ve only had the foggiest idea what was going on exactly, and truth be told, I was just a little disappointed with the outcome of the initial business plan.
That just leaves the course, which has continued, albeit with a couple of minor hiccups, including a power monger of a guard who has endeavored to make our experience stressful, but I think that was more or less resolved when we wrote in as an organization to formally complain, followed by a short – if tense – meeting. But I digress. I am getting closer to completing the course – the vocabulary lists, worksheets, dialogues, spelling tests, templates for recording, as well as the conceptual overview, policies and procedures – but it still feels far, far away. I’ve blocked out more or less every free day I’ve got over the next two weeks to try to tie it up, but I know I’ll still be cutting it close. Sadly, I was unable to find any funding for the course, but who knows? Perhaps that’s not meant to be for this moment. The reality is that the course will likely have to be put on hold after I go, since the university that was supposed to start providing on-the-job trainees as from end of June waited until August – when I contacted them – to inform that it didn’t look like they had enough of the right students. Hopefully, though, another volunteer will pop up – they always do – and the course will be easy enough to re-implement. Time will tell. For now, I’ve just got to get it done, or else it’s all been a waste…and that would really break my heart.
I’ve got my despedidas (going-away parties) planned with both organizations…and really starting to feel closure here. Perhaps too soon – my struggle right now is being here completely – mentally and emotionally. A few months ago I got onto a motorella, and screwed to the back of the driver’s seat was a framed picture of a lotus flower with the quote (I’m paraphrasing here), “The only thing that matters is this moment, this place, and the people here.” I seriously needed to read that then, and I’m reminding myself of it now.