There are those moments in time when you can see your soul being filled to capacity. Those are the times that you know must hold you over in times your soul goes through famine. Today was one of those days. I know that many of my fellow volunteers think I am doing great at my site. To be honest I love it here, but there are days when I feel like a total failure. Today I had an unplanned meeting with a supervisor over some questionable situations. Not every day is the same here, and you must understand that no matter where you are, there is always potential danger. So sometimes a meeting is needed to determine if you are interpreting things correctly.
In my time here I have held a few workshops, which I have included a ton of pictures to share. In these moments I seem successful, but the moments that are not seen are the ones where I am at a loss as to what to actually do. It feels awesome to be validated, but then I have to stand up and confess that my successful workshops are based out of desperation. Desperation to feel useful, to feel as though I have done something. I guess that is what Peace Corps is all about, desperation is the mother of innovation, or so I hear.
Today’s meeting came with great confidence building praise and unexpected support. In the end the choice is always mine. My safety is my priority, and I can and will refuse to do things that could put my life in danger. It is human nature to question our interpretation of data, we do not want to be wrong, but it is very lifting to hear that our own interpretation is accurate and our chosen course is correct. It also feel very good to hear someone say you are doing great.
Later today I had my neighbor visit me. Killa is a soft soul. He lives upstairs and my host family is close to him. He runs a jerk stand and apparently he sells out far before the others do. He is also the kind of person who is genuinely gentle, maybe not so bright but definitely a gentleman. He came into my apartment today, which is actually a first, as I was preparing my lunch. I was making a kale salad, and he wanted to know what kale was. I showed him and then I showed him the best way to prepare it. First you break it up then you add some lemon or lime juice and massage it into the kale. I like to allow it to sit for an hour. The citrus breaks up the fibers much like when you ceviche fish. I then add some finely chopped sweet pepper, red onion and toasted almonds. I toss in some olive oil and then add some romano cheese. I promised to save him some, I think he was truly interested in what I actually eat as a vegetarian. See I tease him daily about masticating a chicken and that I am a vegetarian and he is killing my soul slowly. The host family also brought home a new puppy, which I always ask what he is doing to the puppy and tell him he cannot cook it up.
He came back later this evening and I served him some of my kale. He seemed to like it quite a bit. My host brother also came up for some arugula, carrot and cucumber juice, which he did not really like but drank for the nutrients. I told him a little bit of fruit makes it more tolerable. He just wanted the veggies, so well he got a rather untasty concoction.
Explaining my diet is an everyday thing here. Being a true vegetarian is confusing, which after hearing dietician discuss nutrition is not all that surprising. The diet here is high in fat, sugar and carbs, and processed crap. Tang is considered juice and bag juice is common, bag juice is sugar and food coloring in water as far as I can tell. I need to share my meals more often, I think the family may enjoy them and get ideas as to how to eat healthier. (I have lost about 20lbs since getting here!)
I enjoy dominoes with my family about once a week and want to start playing tennis and soccer with them very soon. (I bought the equipment for both.) The most surprising thing I have found today is that my host dad had a meeting with other host families in Ochi today. I hear rumors that I have made a huge impact on them, and that he was mentioning me continually today. Oh my head is swelling with pride at the moment.
In those times that I feel like a failure, I will look back on the happenings of today and remember that I fed a man and my soul was fed as well. I must always remember that it is a cycle and that my actions have impact, good, bad or indifferent, I embrace those things which are catalyzed by my actions. I just hope that this is always a positive outcome. Today has been an excellent day.