Speed bumps. No, walls! Walls! I’ve been facing walls. Walls that I try to climb. Walls that make me want to give up. And just when I’m about to, I see a glimpse of hope. I find a way to climb over and continue my way. I’m light, happy, ready, until…the next wall.
This describes how it’s been since I’ve been here with regard to work. I used to always say “Paciencia”, and I’ve been known in the office for that quality. To be honest, I’m running low on patience.
It’s the end of the fiscal year and I’ve been writing my annual report. I’m supposed to fill out little boxes that show what I’ve done, what the impacts of my intervention are. The boxes are empty.
However, I’m writing a novel on all the reasons why we couldn’t accomplish what we have planned. These are not excuses but the reality of the situation here.
We first had trouble getting funding. I was working with the local health centre, the first partner in the project. We had to rewrite the project proposal a billion times – I know I tend to exaggerate but you should see how many versions I have of the project plan. We get rejected every time. Walls.
In December – yes, from June to December I’ve been working on the project plan! – we finally get funding for the project. One condition though is that we needed to change partners, one that is better known to the organization. How do I explain this to the health centre? A wall.
So I rework the project again with Fundacion Simiente, a great local NGO who works with small producers, especially women (to see Simiente’s website click here). The project proposal now includes a stronger focus on gender equality. The health centre is still involved but at a smaller scale. I honestly think that the proposal is greatly improved with the addition of Simiente.
All was going well. I was now living 3 days a week in Langue, closer to the communities. I started to know the population better. I was getting better acquainted with my colleagues in Simiente.
And then…A wall: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada emitted a new alert, a red one, which said to “avoid all travel” in certain zones in Honduras, one of which includes Langue. (see the advisory on-line here)
Our bosses then tell us that we can’t go to Langue anymore. Actually the new procedure is that we can go but only in Langue, in the centre…NOT in the villages… and ONLY half a day a week… and with TWO cars – we had trouble going to the community with just one car. And this is for our safety. Seguridad…
We can’t go anymore?! What? What about our projects? What about the people in the communities? Are they okay? What’s the reason behind this alert? I mean, there are places in Honduras that are way more dangerous than Langue. One hundred times more dangerous! And here I’m not exaggerating!
The reasons are not clear. It’s a shock. Not only for me but also for my other colleagues who work in that zone.
Despite all that, the nutrition project is still on, barely breathing but still alive. My negative side tells me that perhaps this project is not meant to be but my positive side tells me perhaps there’s a reason why the project is not completely dead.
It took me a couple of days before I could grasp the situation. I felt like I was in mourning. I miss going on the field. I miss seeing my colleagues in Simiente. I miss talking to the people in the community.
So I’m still here. I’m still working. Sometimes with a heavy heart. Most of the time with the hope that all will be ok. Resiliencia.