Today, Tuesday, January 13, 2004, was a good day. I DID get to study this morning. Both some of the lesson and some from my World Scriptures Anthology. I woke at 6:30 from the alarm and got up at ten to seven – hopefully I can do even better tomarrow.
At work, the day was quite productive – when I arrived, Mr. Titus was addressing letters. He and I continued to address them until we were ready to leave and go deliver them through out the town – in his car. It was wonderful to have someone to help me do this, as for the magazine and Community Expo, I had to walk all over town by myself and it took forever. We were able to cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. In addition, we got into a discussion about CS, and he was very interested, asking many questions.
We worked together straight up until just after five, when he had to leave and go pick up his daughter. I continued to deliver a few letters and talk to some community members.
Since everyone always asks, so what do you actually do? I am going to attempt to answer that question. I work for a committee called the Old Harbour Development Area Committee, and I am supposedly representing Ministry of Health in that committee. (Supposedly because I don’t actually visit – or rather, I haven’t had very much interaction with – the Ministry of Health.) Anyway, on paper, I represent Ministry of Health in the Committee. I am the only Peace Corps Volunteer on the committee, and the only person on the committee that doesn’t have another full-time job. The other members that make up the committee are leading members of the community.
OHDAC was started around two years ago by the Social Development Commission (SDC). I work in the SDC office in Old Harbour, and I am the only official representitive from OHDAC. Even though SDC is the parent organization, for some reason, there is a line drawn between SDC and OHDAC, especially when it comes to budgetary matters. This presents an interesting situation because OHDAC has no budget and is parasitically feeding off of the SDC budget!
Anyway? in the fall, OHDAC worked very hard to stage a Community Expo and publish a magazine. At the Expo, we had about 30/35 booths. Our venue was Ascot Hall, the nicest hall in town for plays, dinners, dances, and other community events. We were actually planning to have it outside, but a few days of rain before the event pushed us to look for a place inside. The Expo was successful except for the fact that we advertised it as being from 10-6, and the exhibitors started packing up from after three pm!!
The other downer on the Expo was that we were trying for the magazine to be ready for sale AT the event, but we had only seriously decided to publish a magazine a few short weeks (maybe 2 or 2 1/2) before the day. The Expo was to be on Wednesday November 5, and I personally handed the graphic designer/printry all of what I had for ads and articles on Thursday night, less than a week before the Expo. I then spent all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with the graphic designer to do what I could to help her get the work done. Also, everything was stalled when the committee was slow with the command to go ahead and print the magazine. Monday night, I had come back to the office with a dummy, and all the committee had was criticism, but they hadn’t been working on it to improve it, and they had no interest to do so!
Anyway, the day of the Expo came, and a small number of magazines got printed, and a co-worker and I drove into Kingston, in the middle of the Expo to help finish up the printing stages and hopefully bring back the magazine to the Expo to sell. You can figure out what happened next – we got back at 4:30, expecting the Expo to continue as advertised until 6:00 pm, but the place was absolutely empty, not a vender or booth, nor a customer or community member in sight! I was very disappointed and disheartened.
I spent the rest of November trying to distribute the magazine and collect ad money and other small projects at the office. December was very, very slow. Last week in the office, I sorted out two files that needed organizing. For some days in December, the most useful things I did on a work day were the personal errands that got done before, during, or after work. On those days, you might’ve found me playing solitare on the computer. Hopefully, since the holidays are gone and the feeling is waning, these dulldrum days will also go too!
Because Jamaica operates on a slower pace, I also have slowed down. I am learning to not rush anything, because if an activity requires rushing, then it simply won?t happen, or it will be late.[fullstop].
So, what am I hoping and planning next? I will be submitting a proposal to OHDAC that I might spend most of my time with and in schools.
My office spends an immense amount of time discerning, diagnosing, and discussing what the problems are, and then lets community members spend another heap of time talking about how bad it is and how it hasn’t changed and might not ever change. Obviously, that is where the Christ Spirit is needed to help guide the office into inspired activity and productivity, and that includes me!