Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tips for a successful International Development Project (Part 2)

    I've worked very hard during my Peace Corps service. As a result, my school has received an income-generating craft project, a business plan, skills, a bank account, a Gmail account, a library and a water pump.
   What many of you don't know is that all of these projects came with hefty price tags: frustration, meltdowns and at some times, doubt.
   I didn't always work with some teachers who valued what I brought to the table. In fact, they constantly questioned my presence, experience and education. Very passive aggressively, of course.
   It hurt but I had to  grow up and put things in perspective: I work for myself, the children and most importantly, God. That mindset, along with support from post staff, helped me to succeed in a hostile environment.
   If you are an aspiring Peace Corps volunteer or international developer, you might come across these situations, especially if you work with small micro enterprises.
   Here are some tips for you:

-Murder your counterparts: Some of the people you work with might piss you the hell off! They might question your skills and credentials, try to make you feel like you're nothing. They might even be jealous of you. They might talk negatively of you in the mother tongue while you are in the room one minute, then compliment your hairdo the next. Hmph. Off with their heads! Besides, murder looks good on your resume.

-Hold your breath: In developing countries, everything runs on time. Time is money and money is time. What takes one day to do in America takes one second to do in the Third World, especially when it comes to service projects. So hold your breath. It's the key to life.

-Don't have fun: F-U-N. What's that? What's the point? It's just a three-letter word, OK? Don't do it. Life is much more colorful without it, and your service project will be, too. Fun is nothing but a bunch of F-U-N-K.

-Eat your counterparts: If you can't murder them, eat them! My recommendation: dice up one jerk and throw in a three-legged pot with one litre of water. Add seven tablespoons of Mrs. Dash seasoning and enjoy!

-If all else fails, listen to Pharrell Williams' "Happy." It'll ruin your life.

NOTE: I wrote the above post out of frustration one brutally cold winter. It's strictly satire, OK? No one was murdered, eaten or died during the process of my service project. I did not hold my breath, well, I did, but only when teachers were using the pump for the first time. And I did have some fun.

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