09 April 2011

Expectations Fail.

Well, it has been 2 weeks since I re-arrived in country. And what a 2 weeks they have been. Sometimes I wish I could write a book about my experiences here, just as they are. No hiding, straight talking, maybe even venting a little. People would not believe it. Drama.

These last 2 weeks have just added to this desire. But I have to preface this statement - 

I love my new job. Seriously. This is the first time in years that I have really loved it. I am growing so much, it challenges me everyday, I learn something (s) new everyday. And I love the DME team. 

So after that caveat, let me tell you this - I am FRUSTRATED!!!

I am here to manage a baseline assessment. Pretty much what that means is that there is a new project coming for the cholera response and we want to know what the current situation is in order to measure how the project changes the situation at the end. By managing this, I have spent the last 2 weeks creating lots of documents, hiring enumerators (people conducting the survey on the ground), working with the budget, creating the plan, organising training, and in general making sure everything is in order for both the training AND the data collection.  

Yesterday, I made the informed decision to postpone the training. Again. For the 2nd time. This is the 3rd reschedule. And we do not know when we will start now. But because of this, we will have to call all the enumerators today to let them know, promising them that we want them, but we cannot tell them when they will work - and work is hard to come by here. I feel TERRIBLE about this. I do not like promising something and then having to go back on it, particularly when its affects people. I do not care about adjusting my schedule...yet again (ok, I am frustrated, but I will get over it). 

We went through such a process to hire these enumerators. First, we posted the job descriptions on university campuses here (students are always eager to work, have flexible schedules, and are a great investment). We received over 400 applicants. So, we had to go through them. We then had about 125 come this week for a test on their critical thinking skills. And let me tell you, that was a lot to organise. And then, we had to grade them. I felt like a teacher. 

Overall, we had about 50 out of 400 that we will want to work with on various assessments. Grading the papers, I was struck with an interesting fact about Haitian students. One thing we always joke about here is how slow Haiti is. We gave the students 30 minutes to finish the test - one which would have taken myself and my colleague about 15min to complete. I was shocked by the amount of people who were not able to complete even half of the test in 30 minutes. And I am saddened that out of 400, we were able to gather about 50 for our needs. 

I do not want to comment about the Haitian workforce. Work is hard to come by here and everyone wants a job. With these 50 individuals, I hope that I can help them on that path. 

So after grading the tests, we called all the people that we wanted to let them know to come on Monday for training. Now, we have to change because the contract is not signed and we cannot spend money before its there (an obviously good practice). The signing of the contract is completely out of my control, so now I just have to wait. And patience is not one of my virtues...yet...

At least this gives me opportunities to work on other things. But oh the frustrations of expectations not being lived up to - for myself and for all our enumerators!

In another note, last weekend, I drove up the mountain to spend a pleasant day with my friend and colleague, A. Here are some of the GORGEOUS photos (and lots of adorable puppies - maybe to become one of our own???). 

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