I have been living in my village for ten months now, and I feel like I hit more frustrations recently than when I first arrived.
No one still seems to understand our project that we are working on. Right now, we were told that we are to work full time in the school (check!) and do two projects in the village (check). When the project was first introduced, the villagers thought we were here to work in the school and find money for whatever they needed. I was told computers, plantation equipment, water, and many other gigantic projects that require help. As many times as I try to explain what I am doing here, they still don’t understand.
Right now, I am teaching in the primary school. Until the National Exams are finished, I am acting as a substitute for the many teachers who are absent for various reasons. It is not as much fun, but I feel like I am bonding with my group of 7 year olds, and enjoying the other classes I see daily.
For many months I was heading over to the college after school to help in the computer room. I helped the kids with computer questions as well as homework. (Again because of exams, I am taking a break since there are no kids staying there after school.)
I am still assisting with the grant for the new school building.
I am also currently working on the Samoa Challenge II.
Along with the health project, I often go exercising with children in the village to promote health.
I also assist with the various little things in my village from fixing computers, to homework help, to typing letters to the government to ask for assistance.
I have also helped to get many books donated to the school.
I feel like I am doing stuff in my village, and helping people.
I thought everyone else felt the same way, until recently.
It was brought to my attention that I have not done enough for my village yet. I was told people are complaining about me not getting them money for different projects. I have been compared to different volunteers, and it is very frustrating since we are doing completely different things.
I was told that I will only be a successful volunteer if I can get something big for my village. If I can’t everyone will forget me as soon as I leave..
Big projects like they want are a lot of work. It takes time on the computer to research, and time to run around to different organizations. It is hard to get done when you are working full time, and going to church all weekend. You need help, and if no one in the village is offering to help you, it is impossible to do.
I don’t feel like this is true, but having someone mention this to me every other day begins to wear on your spirit.
It just makes life frustrating. I feel like I have to defend my actions at every turn.
Hopefully everything will click into place for everyone.