Patience

This week I have learned the true wrath of the heat. Sweating profusely every minute of every day gets to me, but having no water is the real problem. It has been out at my house for almost 3 weeks, so I carry containers to the hospital with me to fill up there. Electricity continues to plague my existence, and it has been going out for at least 12 hours at a time every day for the past few days. The uncertainty is maddening; I can’t count on a fridge to store food, nor having the ability to cook it.

Luckily, I had a great weekend away from my village with friends and wildlife. It was the first time I made a journey into the bush for safari, and we saw a lot: giraffes, rhinos, zebras, kudu, springbok, and wildebeest. A bird that looks like Zazu from The Lion King hung out at our campsite, too. I’ll look for some pictures of our adventure and try to post them when I get a chance.

While I was visiting with some of my friends, I got into a conversation about relative success and our levels of activity. It’s hard to describe how busy I am at this point of my service. I’m in a sort of transient phase, still determining how to shape my work – some days I don’t do much, but others are filled with talking to people or planning for activities. I still think that some of my most important jobs are networking and motivating. I’m slowly getting better at recognizing the people on whom I can rely, meanwhile becoming a staple lekgoa (white person) in Rakops.

I’ve said it before, and I hope it’s clearer now that this is a process during which I will most definitely not perform feats of magic on a daily basis. It takes time to accomplish things, and the musings of my blog depict only windows into what I’m thinking and doing. I ask that you take everything I write with that same holistic view, especially when I sound particularly disconcerted.

The struggles we face as volunteers are key to our experiences. The success stories you read here are indicative of a great many undisclosed failures as well. It makes it that much better when I get to tell you about something that went right. I’ve learned a lot about patience (it is tested every day), and that means you’ll have to afford me the confidence that I’m moving in the right direction, regardless of my pace.

I’ve also recently been prompted about the perks of Peace Corps for young professionals – I assume that many older volunteers are not concerned with the glowing line it puts on your résumé, but my friend forced me to think about that aspect of my time here. The rewards for commitment are nice, especially if you want to work for a powerful government agency like the Centers for Disease Control or the State Department (returned volunteers get 2 years non-competitive status for government job applications and a readjustment allowance of a little more than $7,000). I can’t say the rewards alone would sustain me here; the investment is too great for this to be just a job. I have my own goals to keep me focused on why I’m here, and I think most others are here for reasons beyond career advancement.

I’m getting excited about some of my upcoming projects. It looks like my recycling plan may be getting off the ground soon – the trick is showing my support group members the importance of environmental preservation and linking this opportunity to money to sustain us. I’ve also been conspiring with my friend’s school in Chicago; we’re participating in the World Wise Schools correspondence program together. We’re still in the brainstorming stage of our project, but it sounds like her students are interested and ready! I’ve been looking forward to putting something into action with this group for a while. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted!

I had 2 orange Oreos the other day; that’s the extent of my Halloween celebration this year. I hope yours was more festive!

Cheers

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4 thoughts on “Patience

  1. Bob Hardy says:

    Thanks for the enlightening post. The hardships you are enduring are forging you into a new person. The rewards of your service will be in the perspectives you gain and the pride in accomplishment.

    We only had a few trick or treaters last night – and nothing nearly as exciting as a Wildebeast! We will have to make sure we are prepared to celebrate multiple holiday traditions when we see you (although not sure about the candy liquor).

    Love and miss you,
    Dad

  2. Grandma says:

    Dear Jeremy,

    What a trial you are going through. I can’t emagion going without water for three days, in 120 degrees,
    It amazes me you can function at all in those conditions.

    Like that you got away for a few days, looking forward to seeing the pictures.

    Love you lots! Miss you, thanks for the Blogs I keep rereading them all the time.

    Hugs & Kisses
    Grandma

  3. Brown Thunder says:

    what up, homeskillet?!?!

    Glad to hear about your motivations within peace corps work related to jobs. Don’t know if any employer will truly understand the dedication and perseverance you exhibit on a daily basis.

    Very excited that you met Zazu! He’s one of my favorites. Amazed about the collaboration with UP, as well 🙂 Keep kicking butt! I was with Megan the other night and we agreed that we both love and miss you. Beat the heat and take care! Talk to you soon, buddy.

  4. Sherry says:

    Hello Jeremy!
    Oh how I wish that I could turn down the heat there and provide you with some water.
    I am cheered to hear about you recent adventures with your friends though.
    I have said it before, but I am so amazed by what you are doing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and adventures with us. Your challenges and accomplishments make me sit back and reflect on how fortunate I am. I am grateful for all my blessings which I count you as one of my very special blessings.
    I love and miss you
    Aunt Sherry

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