What does your worst day of Service look like?

Sometimes your best days can also be your worst days. Today was one such day. In Jamaica it is Labour Day, not a day to relax but a day to put in community work and try to improve your communities. Much like a national service day. We had the greatest turnout this year. Roads are being fixed, the schools are being improved, a bus stop is being finished and clean-up all around the community is happening.

Yesterday boys were telling me that people anticipated getting paid for the day, which is against the idea of Labour Day. Then today I saw something go on that should not have been going on. I confronted the person and a screaming/cursing argument ensued. It shook me to my core. My behavior was no better than his. I had apparently hit my tipping point and it was sliding headfirst into a pile of *&%^!

In the end, I went home early.  I cried because I was so angry, if anyone knows me they know I only cry when I am so mad I cannot see straight.  It made me questions finishing my service, am I still going to be effective in my service?  Will it cause drama in my community?  Will people lose faith and trust in my judgement?   Well yes and no.  Thankfully I have a loving partner at home who told me that this was crazy talk and that I am making a positive impact here.  He also suggested that instead of Brandy and chocolate for lunch maybe a nice cup of tea, a hot shower and rest would help.  He was right it did.  The one thing he did not say to me, and this is important:  “Why don’t you just pack your bags and come home where people appreciate and love you?”  See that is the wrong answer.  On those days when you really want to just give up, having that affirmation is the worst possible response.


You see the problem here was about collecting money and since most groups here have an issues with money and how transparent they are with utilizing it, I take exception when I see dishonesty happen in the name of the Citizen’s Association.  I think it is because this group is very precious to me and it is so new that I do not want any blemish to its name.  Money is a huge problem because of how the citizens see the government handle or mishandle it.  Many people will do what they can to survive, but by saying you are collecting for an organization in which you have no intention of handing money to, marks the organization as misrepresented.  When person who give money and later find the project not completed they often blame the organization responsible saying they put money into it.  This creates distrust in groups and the individual who collected the money in the first place is unmarked.

I chose to not go back out, and as my mood is lifting the sky is darkening, which means rain soon come.  Do I regret how I handled the situations, you bet I do.  Would I challenge this person if I had to do it over again, well I might have waited for back-up from my supervisor and maybe it would not have escalated.  Mind you there was never any physical threat to me, just a whole lot of yelling.  If I had it to do over again, I would have confronted him and then left, not even responded to his nastiness.  Responding showed my weakness.  Maybe it was that I was physically tired from riding up and down the hill all day, maybe it was because I was mentally exhausted because I had to reject men’s approaches all day, maybe it was that I just saw a wrong and it was so blatant I just could not keep my mouth shut, that happens to me often, actually.  Whatever it was, I am still concerned about what will happen next, will I be able to get people to help on projects again?  Most likely.  So I guess it is more about the shame of how I handled myself and frankly I think maybe I just need a true mental vacation day.  An entire day to just be and to just relax, I tend to not take those like I should.

Then the man who is moving out upstairs gave me this 3-D picture of Rasta Cat!  It made me smile!



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