Monday, July 11, 2011

Month Three

July 10, 2011

A village Challenge Group exercising at 5:00 am

Three months have passed since my arrival to respond to a need to complete the second half of a two year Samoan Health Challenge grant. During that time intelligence was gathered, scouting expeditions probed for a pathway, plans were drawn up and revised, now for the battle. Like Pogo of the comic strips, “We have met the enemy and it is us”.

The apathy given to this project, and ergo me, by my the administrations of the “sponsoring organizations”, Women in Business Development and Peace Corps, and by many of the Peace Corps Volunteers is only overshadowed by the responsiveness of the Samoan people. They fully understand their own health predicament and want to be shown a way out. It is when I honestly talk to them face-to-face about what they already suspect, but like all humans, don’t want to face, that I realize the importance of my stay. Their faces are what keep me going.

What is hard to accept is the reality of the NGO and governmental world. This is not the results oriented world, in which I find my reality. It is a world of fulfilling the requirements and budgets of the funder. Results, both long and short term, are of little or consequence. It is the process that matters. So organizations move from fad to fad depending on the “cause d’jour”, be it tsunamis, climate change, obesity, breast feeding, animal rights and all other rights, abuses and all other abuses, inhumanities and all other inhumanities, freedoms and all other freedoms, wherever and whenever good and guilty hearts fork out money, filling out long reports to be filed for posterity only. Mission Accomplished. It is maintaining the organization which counts.

Please don’t misread me. I am not saying this is bad. It is just hard being from one world and trying to exist in another.

My battle plan for the next seven weeks is to engage the enemy, take their money, and do my best to assist those for whom it is intended. Then to get on the plane, return to my family, and say I met the Challenge. I tried.



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Greetings from Santa Marta, Colombia

Teri said...

Dad, you have a stronger constitution than I do. All the roadblocks being thrown up would drive me crazy. Best of luck with continuing to navigate your own challenges during the Samoa Challenge. We'll be glad to have you back at the end of August.