Friday, August 10, 2012
I had a rough day today. Nothing seemed to go well, though there were a few small victories. Prof. Marisol's morning 2nd grade class really enjoied the story I read, a translation of "If You Give a Moose a Cookie". And I'm happy with the sylabals game I thought up for Marisol's afternoon class, though she was outside talking to someone and didn't see it.
The general theme of the day though was that I am some ridiculous foreign guy, who is really serious about things nobody else cares about, and really bad at everything people do care about. This is the classic Peace Corps bad day. At least I'm working though. We actually had five whole days of class this week, which is exceedingly rare, and I have been working at the school mornings and afternoons and at the library during the lunch shift. I think part of the bad day is that teachers were just worn out working five days in a row.
The library is the most frustrating. Though I love being able to build the institution as I see fit, it needs to be able to survive longer than my eight remaining months in town. The more books we receive and the more I develop our organizational system, the more I freak out that my counterpart, the librarian, is completely uninterested in, and for all appearances uncapable of learning about library mangement. She isn't paid well, so I don't feel like I am able to really be hard on her. She got her job through political patronage, which is also how the librarians in the dysfunctional Nueva Germania library got thier jobs. There was no interiew process or open applicaion period as far as I know. It was just her turn.
She ought to be involved in every decision, I ought to be building the institution with her, but the instant I try and steer a conversation away from facebook her eyes glaze over and I am lucky to get two words out of her.
The job of librarian is not considered to be anything more than a receptionist here as far as I can tell. While there are some smart and generally easy to work with and motivated people of the library comission, in practice everything for the library needs to go through the municipality, which is of couse the center of politics in the district. I want to talk to the mayor, who is also the preisdent of the library commission, about the future of the library, about the importance of hiring someone who is halfway interested in such things, about how we should buy or order a new wooden shelf for the books we just got, but she is very busy, and when I go in to her august chamber I barely get the time of day. She calls me "el muchacho de la biblioteca", or the boy from the library.
Muchacho is used to refer to young men up to age 35 or so, so it shouldn't bother me but it does.
And it comes back to the fact that the people here are just living their normal small town lives, and I am this wacko with my scruffy beard and goofy hair who rides a bike and speaks poorly. And I can tell that most folks just don't care.
This week was mostly good. Yesterday was actually awesome, we did a great library visit with Sylvia's 2nd grade afternoon class and then Vidulina's 3rd graders loved the spelling in groups game I did with them. It is good to work. I was going crazy during vacation. Kids under 14 years of age think I'm awesome, which is always what energizes me. I am about as lonely as I have ever been but am glad that I've held up well and have been productive in my various little projects around the house. Tomorrow I will do laundry.