Monday, March 2, 2009

Working Under Pressure

I've always been the kind of person that works much better under time pressure. This is why during my days in university, my grades were the best during the semester when I worked two jobs and volunteered too much. Free time allow me to say, "i'll do it later" and meanwhile feel my time doing a whole lot of nothing. And because of this, getting things done and feeling a sense of productivity has been difficult for me as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had a very structured schedule of going to the bank in the morning and teaching in the afternoon. But I was not particular excited about either of those jobs and they exhausted me too much to work on other projects when I returned to my house. Finally, I took it upon myself to change things. Quitting the teaching gig was the best decision ever because now I have all the energy to focus on projects I actually care about. Next week begins my first series of business classes and because of bad timing, I only have these last two weeks to promote the classes. However, the slight time pressure makes me work so much better. I'm out and about everyday in village talking/explaining to people what the classes are all about. Many tell me they don't have an enterprise, so I've been explaining that if you sell something and I buy something, that's an enterprise. It hasn't been easy going out there and gaining interest from villagers. Then it doesn't help when the people who do get it tell me that it's not easy because villagers are close-minded. They tell me it's easier in the city. Well no kidding, why did they think I was doing in the village? Maybe they wonder why I am wasting time in the village when there are people who are ready to learn in cities. I wonder that sometime myself, but that's beside the point.

I am going on vacation in May, so I've given myself these next two months to make serious progress on three projects that have been on my mind for a while. One is working with Victor to get the Peace Corps Partnership proposal out and begin seeking funding to finish building the community center in the neighborhood. Victor is really motivated and want this center to be completed and full functioning before I leave. I hope that happens!

The next project is the library project I had proposed a long time ago on the blog. With time, I have realized what is realistic and what isn't. Purchasing textbooks for the school is not yet a realistic goal for this school and that was the majority of the last proposal. Meanwhile, I solicited help online to see how I can approach this library project and got a response from Books For Africa, who will send us a 40-foot container of 22,0000 English books if we fund-raise the shipping fee. So now, I have gotten myself into this ridiculously large project involving several volunteers and over 20 schools. Meanwhile, the project will need to seek other funding or NGOs who will donate French books for the volunteers working with Francophone schools. This project is slight bit scary, but if it works, it'll be really exciting!

Lastly, I am hoping to work my Camtel connection with the big man in Bafoussam to see how he can help us set up a Cyber/Multimedia center above the MC2. My counterpart who has been less than excited about my projects actually was very keen on getting this one going, so here is hoping. There is not yet a cyber café in Batié and generally no access to computers. If we can get this project going, then it will pose a lot of teaching opportunities. And I can't wait to teach people the marvelous thing that is the Internet!

The three projects are in the beginning phases, but I hope before I go on vacaion I will have something more to update and you readers out there who can either donate some of your pocket change or tell me who would want to send their money my way for the projects! For the library and community center project, I will set up Peace Corps Partnerships, which are the official way of soliciting funding for Peace Corps projects. So, stayed tuned!