8/4/2011 -- A good friend of mine told me several weeks ago that I should continue blogging my life, not necessarily for any of you that happen to read this, but for me. So my goal with my new start is to reflect on things that have happened, how they've changed me, and how I can apply what I've learned to the future. Feel free to follow along or whatever, I got things under control even if no one ever reads this.
First post is something like half done, expected time of arrival: 1 week.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
In sync with last week, this week was another week of poor communication, and I expect next week to follow suit. I'll give the Doctor a break because he's in Lima, but still, it's not outta character. Though this week I did find somethnig about the Doctor that I respect, and that is the woman he chose to marry.
Shirley is amiable where he's tempermental and approachable where the Doctor is isolated. I discovered this when she asked to have a meeting with us SMs and actually listened to the problems we had, even when I detailed the problems I saw with the Doctor. After hearing this, she didn't get angry and refuse to talk about things, she nodded, thanked me, and asked the others if they had any similar problems.
The problem that I outlined, is something that's turned out to be quite the complex situation. The Doctor wants us to work the next two Sundays (our free day) in a row and then take off those two days in the future sometime. Now that's not a bad proposition, the problem was his presentation and reasons for needing us to work these days.
Dr. Madson, a state side doc from some med school, is coming in two weeks and bringing with him a whole group of med students that will be doing a buncha work down here. We come in because he'll be living with us for the time that he is here (two weeks I think). We don't have the facilites to support him and his group, so he gave us money to build him a house in Km 8, which we have only the posts in and a roof on. We have yet to actually turn this shelter into an actual house.
Why? Well because we've been working on four different projects the last couple months. First came the house out back of the property, that wasn't finished on time so we just stopped working on it, then right after christmas we started Mr. Ong's house here in 38, a brick house so it's awful slow, and we started the house at 8. We'd probably already be close to finishing the house at 8, but we also started a church in Km 40 (Santa Elvita).
We haven't finished any of the above projects. The Ong's house has the outside walls and most of the inside, but no roof, the house out back of the property has everything but a floor, the church in 40 has everything but a floor, benches, and something to protect the windows, and the house at 8 is simply 8 posts and a tin roof, nothing more.
As of Friday, the manual labor team has dropped the church project, put the house out back on hold, and moved on to finish the house in 8. Due to the amount of information that I'm told about the projects work, I have no idea what's going on with the house here in 38.
That was part one of the problem, poor planning made the house at 8 a time crunch, part two: the Doctor ordered us to work on our days off.
Let me tell you something real quick, when I have a job (not even talking about volunteer work) my boss does not touch my time off. Now when I'm volunteering... All I have to say is that Doctor has some things to learn about me.
Honestly I don't want to work on Sunday, but here's what went down to cause me to decide to work Sunday:
&nbps;Jonathan and I had a meeting with Shirley at lunch on Thursday and explained that the project needed us to work to get the house done on time and she actually took the time to ask us, almost begging, to give up our day off. I almost said yes right then and there, but knowing the Doctor, I knew that he didn't care how she got us to work, he just wanted us to work. So I asked for the afternoon to think about it.
That evening, Jonathan and I went back to her and talked about it some more. We explained that we did not appreciate being ordered to work, we told her that if we were to work, then the Doctor would have to ask us, not demand us, to work. What was crazy, is that during this whole ordeal, she was actually blinking back tears. Now I dunno what the Doctor said to her when she talked to him, but I knew right then and there that it would be much better for her if we decided to work. So I made the decision to work this Sunday, and informed her that if the Doctor wanted us to work next Sunday, he would have to ask us next week. I did not make that decision for the Doctor, nor for me. For either of those reasons I would have said no, I did it for her sake.
And so tomorrow starts a long week. A long week of working with the Doctor and a long week in which I expect to have a run in with him about this whole ordeal.
This last week though, wasn't such a bad one. I did some crazy things worth mentioning. Me and one other guy succesfully put 8 large wet planks onto the tractor trailer, and then hauled them outta the deep Peruvian jungle. Now that sounds like a piece of cake, but listen, I estimate that each plank weighed between 200 and 400 lbs. So we were hauling something like a ton through the jungle where no vehicle had been before! That was something crazy.
Something else crazy, but not as cool, is I spent probably something like 18 hours weed wacking this week, one of the few things that I can equal and even the surpass the Peruvians in skill with. I actually have experience behind a weed wacker, which sure helps a lot.
&nbps;Other than that, this week I also discovered several things about the dynamics of the Peruvian here at the Project. None of them like the Doctor and if anything goes wrong with the cars, no matter what it is, by default it's the American's fault. Makes it hard to actually drive these guys when they need it.
Just on a side note while I'm thinking about the truck, last week I mentioned that Lucio got a 1000 sole ticket and that is false. He got a 150 sole ticket and paid a 44 sole bribe to keep himself from paying the full 1800 sole ticket for driving without a license. The thing that bugs me about it, is that the Project is making him pay the fine.
That might sound fine just like that, but you gotta understand that the Doctor knew full well that Lucio did not have a license and the Doctor sent him into Pucallpa on Project business after forbidding Jonathan and I from driving. The reason the Project decided to make him pay the ticket, is because he drove into Pucallpa on the Sabbath to do business. That makes me wonder, is AMOR Projects associated with the SDA Church? The answer is no, it is an independent orginization that has decided not to associate itself with the church. You also have to realize that the first question the Doctor asked Lucio when the Doctor heard about the ticket, is why Lucio didn't have one of us with him. Well because the Doctor forbade us to drive. Hmm.
Tough times and tough situations, but it's the rough grooves of a file that give a machete it's edge and the hard times in life that give definition to a man's character. So I'm not complaining, it's sure heping me find out who I am, which is my foremost goal this year and right now in life.
So, due to all the trouble and discoordination we've been having with the Doctor, I decided to send Jenni (the SM Coordinator for AMOR Projects) an email on Tuesday detailing my opinion of the leadership around this place as well as describing a solution to the problems at hand. I believe that it is due to the direct nature of this email that I have yet to receive a reply.
I recommended having a joint leadership about the project site here in Peru. Two men (the culture here does not accept women in leadership positions, I'm not being sexist because I know that women can lead. I grew up with a single mom), a Peruvian, not necessarily the Doctor, and an American. Both would have to be strong leaders and good communicators. The Peruvian would be mainly here for the Peruvian workers and to deal with local businesses and such and work where needed, and the American (fluent in Castellano) would mainly be here to help out with the SMs as well as work where needed.
You guys can probably guess how I feel about the leadership I've seen down here, it gets the job done sometimes, but doesn't do much more than that.
Well to end on a better note, one thing I'm sure gonna miss a lot when I leave is all the soccer that I get to play with the guys here. We play every day when we can round up another team to play with us. This week I only played three days because I injured my shin on Monday, and sat out Tuesday and I don't think we played Wednesday, but we played Thursday and Friday for sure.
&nbps;The thing about home that I miss the most, was really brought to my attention this week. I've been checking my email daily to see if Jenni's emailed me back, so I've also been emailing with my mom quite regularly, and that is probably the thing I miss most about home. Chatting with my mom. But I'll be back in 2 months! Woohoo!
As to monetary spending, I didn't put out too much this week. 30 soles for food, donated 3.5 soles to Hanna so she could make banana bread (my favorite!), put out 9.5 soles to get to Pucallpa and back for dinner on Wednesday, lost 2 soles on two games that we lost playing soccer, but also gained two soles on both games we played on Friday, I put 2 soles into rice so I could make horchata, and then put 1 sole in the offering plate this morning. Total for the week: 46 soles. Not bad. Total expenditure: 555 soles (198 USD) for an average of 78 soles (28 USD) a week. So I can expect to spend 713.5 soles (255 USD) more and spend a total of 1268.5 soles (453 USD) from January till I leave. Not bad, not bad. I'm gonna make it at this rate.
Do keep me in your prayers as well as my family. While you're at it, you might as well pray for anyone involved in my life, they all could use it.
To really live life, you gotta give it your all. Something I've learned since getting here. Don't be afraid to be yourself, it's a lot easier to do than you think.
Peace to you,