It’s Friday. 10:15 am. We are almost done! Yay! Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to noon. I’m tired. Training sucks a lot out of us because not only are we teaching, but we’re overseeing hosting and trying to run the mission.
This week has been full of degaje. Because of some poor planning on our part, or us attempting to be super heroes, we tried to teach a class and do two loads of deliveries in the same week. That right there was us setting ourselves up for problems. The deliveries of course took longer than expected and of course led to problems. The main one being Jean, our project manager, being taken away from the base rather than being here to do the practical sections. Jean is the only other person that drives here aside from Chris and I, so he often does the deliveries. Jean encountered problems, like people asking him to come under false pretenses etc, so of course he was late in getting back and we had to degaje by having one of our other staffers step in to teach the practical.
Manes did fine with the content. He was very thorough. Because he was so thorough we got behind. Degaje. Adjust the theory to allow more practical time. This meant rushing through some stuff and I feel like we’ve been cramming things down their throats, but we had no choice. It has all been taught, and I think they all understand, and they’re currently doing their last practical session with Jean so they’ll hopefully understand how to install the filters the right way.
After the delivery of a load of filters to Archaie (the “under false pretenses” one for the week) we of course had to send people to install them. Yesterday morning three of our workers did what they always do when they go do installs and took the scooters. About an hour later we get a phone call telling us that the police are asking them for papers for the scooters and a permit to operate them. That, the permit, is a new things that we have never heard of. Eventually Chris and Jean had to drive down and try to sort things out. It didn’t work and the police now have our scooters. Our workers did what they were told and came back here, got their identification and some things from us, then went to St. Marc to try and get this permit. They call it a “license”, I call it a permit. A license is something that you should be tested for in order to receive it. To get a “license” to operate a “moto” you go to an office, give them some pictures, show them your Carte Electorale, pay the fee and wait two weeks. No test, no nothing that actually demonstrates that you know how to operate the thing. Yes, and we wonder why there are accidents here…
We finally heard from our lawyer this morning and he’s on the scooter case. We should know in the next day or so what the next step is.
Wednesday morning Chris woke up feeling a bit off. The “off” felt a lot like Malaria. He should know, he’s had it 5 times. We decided a long time ago that we would no longer waste our time with chloroquine and keep a cure dose of a malaria medication on hand that actually combines three types of malaria meds. Chris took it Wednesday morning and went to bed. It worked and he’s back on his feet, though a bit tired. I started taking my malaria pills yesterday and will take them until we leave because the last thing we want is a case of malaria in Canada or the US. I feel like my turn is coming soon. I’ve lived here for almost 2 years and haven’t taken meds for most of that time. I’m starting to wonder if I have super blood or something but I think that’s wishful thinking. It would suck to get sick on our holiday, especially when they don’t really see a lot of cases of it. It becomes such a big deal there when here you take the test, 15 minutes later they tell you the results and if it’s positive you take the cure dose and wait. You’re generally back in commission in a few days.
Yes, we’ve had a lot to deal with this week. I think something that’s good that has come out of all of it is that we’ve been able to see growth in the mission because of it. If this would have all happened at the same time that we were hosting a class last year we would have been stress pots. Serious cases. Now we’re just moving through it and I don’t think the students have any idea any of it’s going on unless they’ve heard us talking about it. We’ve been able to “turn off” and “turn on” when needed. Our staff have become better problem solvers and Chris and I have learned how to juggle things better. I can speak enough Creole that I don’t freak out if he needs to be gone etc because I know I can make my way through it. In a worse case scenario Diana would have just stepped in to help teach, but she didn’t need to because we were able to do it all. Whoop whoop for us! It’s always encouraging to see progress.
Another thing that came through loud and clear was that we need to prioritize when we have people here. Chris and I had talked about this a bit with upcoming Vision Trips etc. In the past there have been problems with trying to juggle visitors and mission work. This week the importance of picking the most important thing for that week was made evident, not only to us, but too our staff. If we have a class going on or visitors in, they are the most important. Deliveries can wait one more week. If no one is here, the filter program takes priority etc. You can talk about these things, but sometimes it’s easy to convince yourself that it can or should be done a different way. Sometimes you need to see why a choice needs to be made firsthand. It’s a lesson, we have learned and have made some choices :)
Needless to say, I’m feeling tired today and am glad tomorrow is a pseudo day off. I say pseudo because Yonese needs to go to the market to get supplies for next week’s workshop and Camilla is going to be doing laundry. It’s never a “rest” day when there are other people working here. Sunday we get to start all over again…sigh.
Part of me keeps thinking about the fact that it’s less than 20 days until we leave. I’m excited but also trying not to hyperventilate because it’s coming fast and I feel like we have a lot to do between now and then. In the end it’ll be what it is and we’ll be getting on a plane and having a break. It just is.