Saturday, December 08, 2007

changing winds

(december 7, 2007)

i have never thought that international development had the answers to all the world’s problems and i have always been one of its strongest critics, as evidenced in my dissertation title Foreign Aid, Global Governance, and Compromised Sovereignty: The Corruption of Foreign Aid by the Neo-Imperial Agenda. but i still knew that it was what i wanted to do. or what i wanted to try and do.

and now i am here, in sub-saharan africa working with an organisation that does development work and i have a real job where i get to do a specific type of development work with all those buzz words ‘capacity building,’ ‘awareness raising,’ ‘community sensitisation,’ ‘sustainability,’ etc, etc (kenyans insist on repeating etc and actually pronouncing each letter – e.t.c, e.t.c and it drives me mad every time i hear it). and i am no longer sure it is what i want to do.

my belief in ‘development’ has been shaken and although i see a lot of wonderful things happening in this country, i am just not sure it is what i should be doing. what is a western canadian woman with a bunch of letters behind her name doing in east africa where she is frustrated daily with the lack of street lights, awful customer service, and work ethic of others around her? i am just not sure at the moment.

i love parts of my job. i would say that i love most parts of it. but i am not sure that it makes me happy enough to continue doing it. i will stay for now and i am quite proud of my project that i developed and am not implementing and i want to see it through. in doing so, i am gaining experience that will be valued where ever i go next and that i could not get through any other channel. but i am just not convinced of how long i can keep doing it.

i have really enjoyed my time in nairobi and have learnt so much and met so many people. my life is here right now, but i am not sure how happy i am about that. i am looking forward and i know that i need to find a path or a new goal, but i haven’t come up with anything concrete. then i wonder if i shouldn’t stay put because there will be some opportunities that arise very soon that could change how i feel about what i do and where i am. but how long do you wait for such things? i feel like perhaps i should stop living on foundation of the future and instead enjoy exactly where i am.

this has been on mind a lot recently and i have been applying for other jobs. the ironic part of it all was that i went to a cocktail party last night that involved far too many dirty martinis, tequila shots, and vodka sodas (really, a splash of soda with lemons and vodka – why are we allowed to keep mixing our own drinks after we’ve had a few?!) and i thought that i saw death on the horizon this morning but i got up and went to work, where i lasted a total of an hour and a half. and most of that was on facebook. after a nap (more of another night’s sleep than a nap), i decided to complete a job application and had to laugh to myself when i had to demonstrate how i have an ‘excellent record of attendance and punctuality’ whilst writing it at home because i was too hung over to stay at work. such class.

i am so lucky to be going home right now, not only to see my fam, my ladies (and gents), and have a proper canadian christmas, but to gain some perspective and think about life in nairobi outside of nairobi. 4 days!


K said...

sometimes we need to take a step back...i hope your time "home" helps you figure as much out as possible. the older i get, the more i realize that i'm not sure i'll ever know where i want to be permanently but that what i can figure out is where i want to be now.
looking forward to a red cup and a good chat.
I'll be there on the 20th or so.

La Cabeza Grande said...

Any thinking person always asks themselves, "What if..." I think you're right about time away giving you some perspective. One thing I'm sure you're learning is that time and experience have a way of resetting our goals. Enjoy the time at home!

By the way, what do ‘excellent record of attendance and punctuality’ have to do with whether or not you're a good fit for the job? Just wondering.

lu said...

totally agree and who would ever write. 'i have a terrible record of attendance and punctuality and sometimes have to leave work due to intense hangovers'?!