Friday, October 2, 2009

october has hit and the changes begin

work? hmmm. i wish. i'm trying to work, but i feel like i keep getting disrupted. my fall will be/has been very disjointed. i go to india in a month, my brother is coming, i moved, i got a cat, etc. i just somehow feel like i'm not getting any work done and that i cannot get work done. but, slowly i am actually getting some work done. i finished a project for my organization in regards to and i hope to get the ball rolling on a new project...however everything is slow. i need my counterpart's help for this latter project and it just has not happened yet. so, i leave for the capital tomorrow and can't work for all of next week because my brother is coming (YAY!). when o when will it all get done?
currently i'm working with two organizations: mine and my former sitemate's organization. the latter has been interesting. i feel exceptionally qualified to work with them, but i have encountered some frustrations. my counterpart is a very intelligent and engaging azerbaijani woman, but her mind is running a million miles a minute. it is very hard to get her to follow through and focus on a single idea. one minute she is dead certain she wants to work on a certain project, say a strategic plan for her organization. so i work with her and ask her to do a task. next time i see her she has not done this task and is asking to work on a presentation for other NGOs on project management. it is hard to get the idea across that to accomplish any one task we must actually begin that task first...and you know, WORK ON IT. it is also strange to have me, the younger person, be mentoring someone a decade older.
another frustration is the non capitalist mentality...or just cultural mentality. two examples:
1. The organization wants more clients. How do we get more clients? ADVERTISING. MARKETING. I'm going over step by step how to market the org and find clients and at the end my counterpart decides, "No, I do not think we should advertise. If we advertise, people will think we have no clients and we will have a bad reputation". Sort of a circle, is it not? If you don't advertise, you gain no clients. If you advertise, people will think you have no clients and this is somehow dentrimental. SIGH.
2. I volunteered for one day with a program that helps Azerbaijani youths to study for one year in an American high school. This program holds a series of tests all over the country in the English language. One testing center was in Mingechevir and as a result children from the surrounding regions traveled to my city for the test. In order to make sure these children could return home at a reasonable hour the program decided to test them first. However, the program demanded that all children arrive at the same time so as not to seem to be favoring regional kids. Or, explained differently, I said: Why don't we tell the kids from Mingechevir to come later in the day so they don't have to unnecessarily wait several hours at the testing center before getting tested? Answer to my question: Because if we do that people will think we favor kids from the regions and talk to each other about that.
Sometimes efficiency is less efficient? And sometimes, 2 plus 2 equals 5.

Lastly, the new group of volunteers arrived in country today. I will not meet them until they finish their training in December, but welcome new volunteers (AZ 7).

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