Although Peace Corps has consumed the last two years of my life, I have done very few projects. Most of this is because of my 10 months in Peace Corps, five have been in training and the other five have been focused on integrating. What few projects I’ve done were very basic and were not met with much resistance.
In Lesotho, I’ve been eager to jump into projects and actually begin Peace Corps work. I feel like I have done that with the library and the health workshop. For the first time, I felt like a true volunteer.
And then I hit a brick wall.
The planning for the health workshop was going very smoothly, almost a little too smooth. The villagers did not expect me to bring in all this money for the workshop, which is unusual. Many times, villagers want the help of a volunteer because they see dollar signs.
However, I recently met with the nurses at a nearby clinic, who will conduct the workshop, and it turns out they can’t host it at the clinic because of renovations. They want to do it in the village, which means they need transport money and lunch. To provide this isn’t a ton of money, not enough to ask for a Peace Corps grant, but the bill is too large for my villagers to foot. I am worried they will be discouraged by the money and give up. We can raise the money, I think, but I am not sure how.
A volunteer’s work is rarely simple and easy. They are roadblocks and hurdles and the definition of a good volunteer is how you can work around them. I plan to take the information to our committee and tell them that giving up is not an option. We’ll figure out away to get the money.
For so many years, I wanted to be a volunteer, a good volunteer. Here is my chance and I’m going to seize it, no matter the number of roadblocks.