Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mid-service lack of crisis

I’ve reached my one year anniversary of service here in Morocco. According to the Peace Corps cycle of vulnerability and adjustment now should be about the time I experience my “mid-service crisis“. Many volunteers hit their half way point and come to notice that they haven’t accomplished as much as they’d hoped to. But instead of crisis I am experiencing success.

Peace Corps visions and expectations change as time goes by in service. Dreams die, dreams are born, and dreams change. You must constantly adapt yourself to the needs and wants of your community and keep in mind the realities that you face. I’ve had many ideas come and go for activities and projects here. And the things I am doing are not exactly the things I planned on in the beginning. But a natural evolution of ideas helps projects to run smoother and I often just like to let things play out as they are destined to.

This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a certain amount of dedication and perseverance to see an idea through. I am forced to keep nagging and reiterating with the people I am forced to work with. But at this point I know how necessary it is, and I no longer feel like a nuisance.

When I first started here I was very concerned with sustainability. I wanted the programs I started to be carried on once I was out of the picture. I figured that was the best way to leave a legacy and that would make my time spend here most worth while. But now the concept of sustainability doesn’t really come into my mind. It’s true my programs probably will stop on a dime when I leave here but just because they don’t continue I don’t see my time as wasted. If I can’t leave something tangible I know I am leaving marks on the students that I get to be with everyday. I know that by merely letting them come and play games together they are enjoying their free time and are getting the opportunity to do someone different.

I’ll paraphrase a comment made by one of my best students that made it clear to me that my dreams were being realized. She said that she found herself at the youth center. That she is happy to break the routine of going to school, coming home, and sitting on the Internet. She is glad to spend time with kids her own age and enjoys the chance to get to do new things.