Over the last week I’ve spent a great deal of time discussing the ins and outs of PC Albania with my visiting friend. Coming from a business background, she has many questions about the efficiency of the PC program, how measurable our results are, and how our reporting processes work. Though I won’t be able to see most of the “results” of my service in the community or even comprehend what they are, I firmly believe that my presence in Lezhe has been a symbiotically beneficial one. But, I sometimes have trouble putting into words why exactly I feel this way.
Many of my answers to her “why is this this way?” questions are cultural in nature, which are hard to understand if you haven’t actually been in the PC in Albania yourself. In fact, these cultural and work place differences are something that I spent 10 weeks of training learning about, but I think it’s taken me all two years to finally begin to understand how to work within the local hegemonic framework.
I recently read this blog post, “What the Peace Corps Taught me About Failure,” written by an RPCV who served in Africa. While the context of my service is drastically different, at times I’ve definitely experienced the same feelings of incompetence that Maya had during her service. The article is well worth a read for anyone who’s ever criticized the Peace Corps for not having more quantifiable results. Maya’s writing can show a bit about how PCVs themselves struggle with this fact….and why our successes, when they happen, are all the sweeter for it.
I think I could be here another 2 or 4 years and still be surprised daily by the decisions and reactions that happen in the workplace and in my daily routine. The only difference is that by now I’ve learned that the surprise, the feeling of failure when something unexpectedly is cancelled, is normal. I can accept these things and move on. I can accept what I have done here, and go back home.