Friday, October 9, 2009

Week In Review

This week can best be summed up as follows: Pretty lousy in the sum of its individual parts, but somehow pretty good as a whole.

As it turns out, part of why I was so miserable on Monday (which I may have known but was trying to ignore) was that I was starting to get sick. Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning I felt like hell. I now have a better appreciation for the term “explosive diarrhea;” turns out not only is it explosive in the sense that it expels itself rapidly, but it also causes you to feel as though your intestines are going to explode. So that's good to know.

Fortunately, in the sense that it meant my sickness didn't cause me to miss out on any real work, all classes were canceled this week because of a school-wide soccer tournament. Unfortunately, in the sense that the students had a lame excuse not to do any work for a whole week, all classes were canceled this week because of a school-wide soccer tournament.

I'm not going to lie – a part of me was relieved to have a whole week of not wrestling with the students. But wrestling with students is what I came here to do, so a larger part of me was more frustrated than anything to be sitting around with nothing to do (or sHitting around, as it were. HA!!!! Poop joke!).

Boredom is a powerful motivator, however, for good or for ill (usually the latter). In this case, it worked for good; it motivated me to try again to make some contacts at the hospital. I've gone several times now but encountered problems: 1. a lack of organization that makes it difficult for me to figure out who exactly to talk to in order to get what I want, and 2. a somewhat unclear idea of what exactly “what I want” is. “Volunteering at the hospital” sounds like a great idea in theory, but it's not exactly like the US, where hospitals are generally used to dealing with untrained volunteers and have some kind of idea what to do with them. So we're stuck in a bit of a catch-22: I don't know I want to do because I don't know what they need, and they don't know what to do with me because I don't know what I want to do.

But things seemed to move forward this week. I met a nurse who works in the eye clinic and she seemed happy to let me hang out with her and watch her treat patients. So that's a start. I also went to the Red Cross office and found out more about what they're doing there, and asked them to invite me along when they have health club meetings, which they have in several of the local schools (including the one in which I'm working). So the week wasn't a complete bust; all in all, things are looking up, despite this week's sickness, frustration, and total lack of any productive activity.

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