Thursday, July 10, 2008


been a little while since i've written here. guess i’m adjusting to the Ramadan schedule. my APCD came around a week early for site visit. he and our PCMO [Peace Corps Medical Officer]. no big deal. house and yard were clean. mosquito net wasn’t up. the Doctor wasn’t overly concerned about that. said i should get it up though.

the APCD observed my Year 2 EE lesson on Biotic Interactions. no TELE-aids today, of course. no big deal. he said it went fine. it did. i tried to talk to him about some of my concerns but nothing came out or across clearly. GTTC issues. house issues. site issues. they’re not really ISSUES, just things i’d like him to know about. things a good volunteer “should” (?) be critical about. but, again, nothing came out right.

not surprising when i think about it, though. just finished writing a Peace & Freedom entry about it. the APCD only wants to hear that we’re happy, healthy, safe... and working to some extent. all else bounces off his shield of “i’m the APCD, the man with all the answers.” that’s not fair though, b/c i suppose that’s the case with Admin in general. only PCVL Mike has sat and listened enough (and empathized... i guess that’s the key) to allow me to vent with satisfaction. the rest of the PCVs too, of course.

it’s funny how we learn, with time out here, who to vent about things to. it’s sad that the people who listen are only the ones in our shoes and, in many ways, as helpless to do something about the status quo as us. so we learn to bite our tongues and keep all those things we want changed (no matter how trivial or grand) inside... we just say what they want to hear. the easy/simple/clean/comfortable answer. “no, all is well... no complaints.” God forbid we be dubbed complainers.

it’s sad b/c that’s exactly how things don’t get done. how they don’t get changed. strange how we adapt to so much of the culture. even the notion that you can’t change things... at least not with your voice/tongue/words. that’s too bad. b/c it’s a good thing in American society. all the higher-ups need critical, constructive and regular feedback. here it’s not thought of as feedback but complaints. and it’s not wanted and looked into but dealt with on the spot with some half-assed answer. “good, on to the next point.” bounces off people like a dud.

only once have complaints (no i’ll use grievances) been dealt with effectively... our 'gripe-session' at the end of stage with the CD. but you get the sense that he listened and took in the difficult, uneasy answers b/c he could do something about them. would be quick/easy for him to follow up and change things. so is everyone else who has grievances bounce off them just doing so b/c they really can’t change things? or don’t want to go through the trouble of getting the ball rolling to do so?

this has been a journal entry about grievances and the art of accepting/handling them. this journal entry itself is a grievance. not to some higher authority that can change things. but to/for myself. at least i listen. at least i let myself vent. at least i don’t attempt to answer every grievance even when i can’t. at least i can admit that some things cannot be easily answered or realistically/effectively/efficiently dealt with. but i listen and i let myself speak my mind.

1 comment:

  1. from a friend: "maybe grievances are conversations about change needed that we have to have - even if it just with ourselves."

    couldn't have said it better myself.

    peace :)