Friday, January 13, 2012

Time to Confront this Head-On

I am a rule follower. I am patient. I respect authority. I take direction. I do not like confrontation. But I am here to tell you, in writing so that you can all hold me accountable, I will be my own advocate. I am tired of getting pushed around and taken advantage of. I am tired of feeling like my time and my skills are being wasted. I am tired of playing by the rules and waiting to see how it will all turn out. And I am tired of keeping a smile on my face and staying optimistic when I am constantly being disappointed.

Why this firm stance and change of heart? Because I finally racked up the courage to go directly to our Country Director to discuss my looming site relocation and to clarify the situation from my perspective and it turns out that we are no closer to a resolution. He apologized for this "unfortunate situation" and then he informed me that, not only does he not want me to move to Mogoditshane (for all the reasons that I have previously mentioned), but he also does not want me in Molepolole because there are too many volunteers there (currently eight). He then stated that he believed my APCD was looking into another potential NGO in the village of Gabane... (deep breath) ...and they may want me to commute from Kumakwane to Gabane if this NGO seems like a good fit. (Excuse me?) First it was Molepolole (back in July before they opted to keep me here) then it was Mogoditshane then back to Molepolole and now Gabane via Kumakwane... What next?

Now, this is all still in hypothetical terms so it could change at any minute, as it has so many times before. There is no actual movement in one direction or another - it's just talk. I was told that either my Country Director or my APCD will call me this afternoon to discuss other potential sites and what they have uncovered in terms of NGOs. More talk. Don't get me wrong, I like talking but I am tired of it. I have been in country for 288 days, that's nearly ten months. I should not be in limbo anymore. I am tired of Peace Corps going back and forth on the subject. I want some sort of resolution so I can feel secure and move forward into the rest of my service. I think I deserve that much.

Ultimately, my fear, as I have tirelessly expressed, is that I will have been in country for a year or more before I get settled into a new site. This is not fair. I have been flexible, patient, open, and positive through all of this. I have held onto hope and small victories. I have believed that it will all work out. (And it will or I'll be damned!) But enough is enough. I am going to push and prod and talk to whoever and do whatever I need to do to get this ironed out as soon as possible. No more waiting...

After the fact note: I just got off the phone with my APCD. She is waiting to hear back from my District AIDS Coordinator about organizations in the district but, in the meantime, she met with an NGO in Molepolole today to discuss potentially putting me with them (kind of a waste of time if you ask me since my CD doesn't want me there but oh well). She is also going to look into two NGOs in Gabane that I had sent her contact information for (exercising my right to be proactive). Unfortunately, she told me not to expect a call from her until after next week Tuesday but that she hopes to have options for me to visit by then. Fingers crossed.

After after the fact note: Once again I am feeling like things might work out for the best. While it's true that this could just be my optimistic nature at play again, nevertheless, I am feeling pretty good about things. In talking with a fellow PCV this evening, I told her that I had spent some time in Gabane and that I had felt it was a wonderful little village (and had actually thought to myself some months back that I should move myself there). I have made friends with some women in the village from the cultural arts center there who had invited me to come and learn how to throw pots on the wheel. In exchange, I offered to help them set up a website to advertise their work. Since then, I have gone back a few times to meet with them but the electricity has been out and so on. Moving to the site could provide a better opportunity for me to work with them. Still the same, I am going to do my best not to get my hopes up, as has been the case in the past. One thing at a time. But, for the first time in a while, I'm really truly feeling like things will work out. I am going to see to it. I also want to state that, in trying to bring myself back to "om", I re-read my Aspiration Statement that I wrote before coming to Botswana. In re-reading the aspirations that I had for my service and the goals I made for myself both personally and professionally, I realize that I have already accomplished most of them. Despite all the ups and downs, I have achieved much more than I realized (and I'm not just referring to time spent with the kids). This is a pretty exciting realization and one that brings me great comfort.

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