Tuesday, October 1, 2013

And Sometimes There Are Frustrations


Sqlq;q/ (Salama if I could type normally on this keyboard)

It seems my technology is destined to meltdown this time each year.  This message is currently coming to you (slooooooowly) from a computer with a dead battery, clicker, and keyboard and occasionally finicky USB ports.  I bought a USB mouse (shaped like a car and lights up haha) and am occasionally borrowing a USB keyboard from a friend when he doesn’t need it.  The trick about the keyboard that is making this so difficult is a French keyboard is not qwerty but azerty.  That would be ok, if that were what my computer thought it was, but my computer continues to think I am operating a qwerty, so what is written on the keys is not what comes out on the screen.  Fun!  The good thing is the hard drive is still going strong because my mom replaced it when I sent the computer back to the states last year at this time.

In other news, while in general my work is going well, there are some frustrations that come with development work in a third world country.  My frustrations generally come from lack of communication and my host organization, PROSPERER.  Here is my big story about PROSPERER to kind of sum up my frustration with them.  Around January last year my silk cooperative and I decided to build signs around their existing work house so they could begin using it as a boutique, which is along a popular tourist route and could seriously increase their sales.  With the help of Sarah Franz in the states, we developed sign and tag designs; I filled out all the paperwork and received all necessary approval and was all set to go by April when I turned everything in to PROSPERER and they said everything was good to go.

And we waited.

And we waited some more.

And I asked PROSPERER over and over again when the signs would begin.

At the end of August (remember, this was finished on my part in April) one of the workers told me that they were missing the mayor’s approval.  I told them I had given that to another worker in the same office.  A couple of weeks later I stopped by to ask again, and one of the workers told me they were no longer going to build me three signs but two.  This is after they had already built new signs all over the region, including for my rock sculptors who already had signs build by the previous volunteer.  They also have built signs for all of the PROSPERER offices in the region, even though PROSPERER ends in 2015.  So, needless to say I was frustrated.  A couple of weeks later, I passed by the area where the sign should be built and it was done!   Well, for the most part.  They combined the sign designs onto one, and haven’t quite finished it the way they should, and they also haven’t built the sign at the actual boutique signifying its existence just the one alerting people that there is a boutique coming up.

So small victories are certainly to be celebrated, but I have found working directly with artisans and farmers is so much more productive and rewarding than going through a development organization, particularly one that does not communicate well at all.

I will keep you updated on the (hopefully) forward progress!

UPDATE 9/30/13:  Still waiting on the additional writing for the stone sign but the metal sign is complete!  Hooray!!


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