Disillusioned or just disappointed?

Trip Start Dec 01, 2007
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Trip End Mar 27, 2010


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Flag of Guinea  ,
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So last week I held my first training. The plan was for it to be 3 days long where we would discuss precisely why we need a new Health Center and then how to write a proposal so we can get finding. I read a couple books, looked at websites and spent hours translating and creating interesting flipcharts. So the big day arrives. Seven people were specifically invited, the seven other members of the management committee. The secretary, who will be the one writing the proposal, didn't show up. He was in Kissidougou. My counterpart didn't come and she was in the village the whole time. I'd go to her house in the morning. She'd say she was going somewhere and so couldn't make it yet I'd come back when the training was over and she's still here. Out of the five people who did come, two couldn't even speak French, let alone write it. Am I wasting my time? Are the pastor, midwife and farmer that I trained really ever going to write a proposal? Do they understand that saying the current Health Center is insufficient isn't enough for a donor to support them?
They want to ask the US Embassy for the money. Why? because Sia (my Guinean name) you're American so obviously they're more likely to give us money. Oh silly me! I forgot the ambassador and I are best buds and the embassy staff practically worships the ground I walk on. Oh wait, we don't even have an ambassador and I don't know any staff. But it's been impossible to convince my community that I don't know every American in Guinea and I don't pull any strings at the embassy. I am very low on the totem poll of Americans in Guinea when it comes to influence. The only group lower would be tourists but umm...they don't exist.
This week I was scheduled to have a meeting with the director of one of the large NGOs in Kissidougou. I invited my elementary school director and the 6th grade teacher. They both came early! I was so proud. But guess who didn't show? That's right, the director. She was 250km away and I guess forgot to inform me she couldn't make it. No big deal. We're just asking for a little help starting a garden to feed 400+ students lunch every school day. Fortunately we were able to have our meeting with someone else who told us how to request funding. So something was accomplished. My work wasn't a total failure this week. We'll just see if the request is ever written. So I came back to Gbang today after spending the weekend in Kissidougou, letting my house air out after being fumigated and waiting for them to fix my roof. My house is aired out but I still have the same old leaky roof. Go figure.
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