Sunday, May 25, 2008

hope and the triumph of imagination

Once again I have lapsed on blog entries. Seeing a pattern? So I’m not a consistent writer… I’ve never been consistent at much of anything so no big surprise there. Let me get you updated on recent developments

The Commune finally came through and bought the pump and piping to get water into the water tower and they are installing all of it as I’m writing this. Hopefully by the middle of next week there will be water flowing in the center of town. It’s still a long way to walk for a lot of people though so I’ve combined forces with an association here to both bring water into individual homes and to make sure that the water being pumped in is clean. The end result down the road is to hopefully install latrines in people’s homes. If we installed them now, they would most likely not be used because collecting water to flush it would be too much of a strain on the women who collect water hence extending water access is Phase 1. At the moment, I’m working on writing a grant to assist in the acquisition of a water treatment system and the community is coming up with the funds to lay the piping and connect the houses. I’m actually quite impressed at the initiative taken by the president of the association Sliman. Part of what I’m supposed to do here is to help associations instill a mentality for sustainable projects and there was almost no need for that with him. He was neither looking for someone to do the work for him nor waiting for the funds… quite the opposite; he has assumed many of the costs out of his own pocket and has mobilized several members of the community in moving the work along.

Hopefully I’ll have this grant written sometime this week once we nail out the final budget and if you would like to contribute I will provide a link to it when it is posted on the Peace Corps website.

In other news, I’m getting closer to coming home for Lee’s (my brother) wedding. I can’t express just how excited I am about seeing friends and family after over a year. I’ve got a lot planned for the time I’ll be home. The vast majority of which will consist in soaking up as much of those people I love as I possibly can, eating some spectacular food (Mexican of course), and enjoying access to running water… maybe stocking up on new reading for the year I will have left. I’m flying home on the 19th of June and heading back on the 8th of July. Some of that time will be in Austin, some in Waco, some in Dallas, some in Henrietta and possibly some in Florida.

Let’s see what else… oh, my new site mate just arrived for her two months of home stay before she moves off on her own. I now have another American living about 2 km from my house which feels a little weird. Her name is Tory from Michigan and she’ll be working with the Water and Forestry. I’m not entirely sure what she’ll be doing, but my guess is that she doesn’t really know yet either. I don’t envy her next two months. Home stay is difficult on everyone and she has the added complication of the fact that I moved here after becoming well acquainted with the language so people here didn’t have to see me struggle through the beginning. The people here can be unforgiving in their judgments of ability and pull no punches in assessing someone’s ability in anything. The language we learn is also pretty much devoid of nuance so you either know everything or nothing. It can break down your confidence after a while. If she makes it through this though, she should be fine.

It’s strange to think that her arrival marks exactly a year in my site (I yr 3mo in country). A year ago at this time Mara and I were arriving in Khenifra for a week of meetings with the Ministry of Health, hanging out with Matt (who is now finished with his service and on his way home via Egypt… Godspeed). When I post this I’ll be in Khenifra translating for the two new Health volunteers in our province as they start their service. It’s interesting to see their reactions to things and wonder if mine were similar when I arrived. It was only a year ago, but so much has transpired since then… battles won and lost, friends come and gone, and up until now a consistent string of victories over the loss of idealism although it has morphed but I believe matured. I hope…

Hope has a lot to do with why I’m still here… hope that the vision that brought me from across the ocean is one that I won’t lose sight of in spite of the constant struggle of the day to day much less of trying to accomplish what it is we are here to do. Hope that strength will be found at the moment where I feel like I have no more to give. Hope that somehow what I am doing will be of some service to those formerly faceless and abstract people who were the subjects of my ideas about the event of Justice and it’s possibility and necessity in every corner of our globe. Hope…

One of my friends sent me this in the mail a few weeks ago. This person seems to always find those words or gifts that reach into whatever pit I’m wallowing in feeling trapped and pull me out reminding me to keep my eyes on the horizon. Bethany, thank you. I’ll leave you with those words…

“In my dream, the angel shrugged & said, if we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination… & then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand.”

1 comment:

kristin hansen said...

Dear Samuel,
We were so glad to meet you and I wish we could have spent more time talking.
I am glad you and Mara have become like family. She cherishes you! We are deeply thankful she has friends to share the daily struggles. I know now, a little bit, how prevalent they are. Blessings and hugs to you!
The quote you shared was written by Brian Andreas and I gave it to Mara (with one of his paintings) for high school graduation. He is one of my favorite artists! It is beautiful and so true.
Have a refreshing and memorable trip home! You are in my prayers every day. love, Kristin and Kim