Friday, August 24, 2007

Roll-Call of Days

Anyhow, I have so many things to write about. My last post had been Tuesday after all. :p


I went on-field for STEP-UP, meaning our program for poverty alleviation in the urban poor areas. It's been so long since I got my feet dirty; and disgusting as it was, it was also... dunno... empowering. Was that the word? It felt good to feel my feet firmly planted on the ground and to meet people again from all walks of life. It felt like a re-entry to the world.

It felt like being re-born, actually. If I had camera, I would start by focusing on my muddy feet and then it will pan upwards to my face which is registering a look of sheer staisfaction and then to the cramped streets and makeshift houses, then finally to the faces of the people smiling amidst the squalor. Not aesthetically pleasing, but beautiful and very very real somehow.


I went to Tanauan, Batangas to assess the training needs of a barangay cooperative which a member company helped in the past. We found them needing basic financial management and a review of business management principles. Then I went back to the office to do some paperwork.

There, Ian asked for help in locating a certain document for a project I handled in the past. We found it in under five minutes. He told me, "Life is so much easier now that you're here; I'm glad you're back." Then he hugged me and it somehow cemented my conviction that I made the right choice.


Speaking of Ian, I'm really worried for him. I saw the change in him this past few months. He's looking more exhausted than ever. Today, we talked for a while about this and I can sum it up by saying he's lost his love for his work. That's his explanation for it anyway, verbatim. It also doesn't help that he's got health problems too (just like me) and the fact that he hasn't been promoted yet from MCIP after 3 long years.

Not to be misunderstood though, Ian is a good worker. He communicates well with the communities he deals with (which maybe the most important thing in this job), he works fast, he doesn't leave things hanging. He's intelligent and can stand firm against the most virulent opposer. But there's just nowhere for him to go in PBSP anymore, or so he thinks. His pay is not enough to compensate for the load. And the load, is as always, too much for even a strong pair of shoulders. I know this because I used to be there too. It's just that, he doesn't see any other position which would not exhaust him as MCIP has exhausted him.

I "escaped" to the Communications unit and to what would be equal to a Carribbean vacation in PBSP. But he doesn't see where else he can go. I think, he doesn't want to see. I don't think he can. Being burnt out does that. I want to help him, but I have no idea where to start. My first take was to act all peachy and positive in LRO, as if forcing a little bit of sunshine into the stale air. But we all know I'm no little Miss Sunshine. Sooner or later, I'd slump again to my depressive mode and what then? We'll commit suicide together?

So I ask again, how do I help? And before you even ask, I'm making this my problem because I don't want him to go away. I've mentioned in former posts, he's my only real and original friend left in the whole of PBSP (Raffi, although falling in the category doesn't count coz she's manager, and Gilda and Terteen gone and Eman leaving). But I think I have to prepare for the day he'll tell me he needs to go. If I'm a true friend, I should stand by his decision. Even if it breaks my heart.

Strangers. Someday, PBSP would be full of strangers and I would be more alone than ever. And I can't leave because of the effing debt (both financial and gratitude). I want to serve my 3 years of gratitude for all that the insitution has done when I needed help. But without my friends, I can only imagine Calvary ahead.

Today, Still

I had a meeting with this person who handles trainings too. Ian seem to understand her well enough, and my amazement of his intelligence grew when I realized he was actually understanding this person who might as well speak in Greek for all I understood of what she's saying.

And because I'm arrogant, it really bugged me the whole night. I don't understand why I don't understand her. When I talk with her I feel stuck inside a box, I can't breathe and ergo, can't think. She's a really nice person, she's pretty, I like her. But I drown in her words. She keeps losing me at "hello."

She's very smart and well-trained in diplomacy. Her choice of words proves it. She can call you a mother effing liar and still make it sound diplomatic. Good thing she's really nice so she's not the type to wage war with people. But she always uses too many words. I realized she often goes in circles en conversant. I also realized, I used to be like her. I loved my words so much that I use them all at the same time, flowery and accented, superfluous or not, appropriate or otherwise.

But after a while, I learned that it was much more important to be understood. So now, I'd rather word my sentences like an arrow, using the closest words which would describe it the best. I haven't got brevity down to a pat yet, but I'd like to think I'm getting there. Simpler words are more powerful, I realized. Anybody can understand it. And if you're brain is not too busy translating the words then the meaning goes straight to the heart. Diba?

It was only when Ate Raffi sat with Ian and I that I was assured it wasn't me just being stupid. At her careful guidance, my ideas started to flow again and I was even able to suggest new things.

It was a relief, I tell you.

IN SUMMARY, I guess I don't have to tell you that I have had a full but satisfying week. Oh and yeah, you also got to watch that Kyle XY show on Studio 23 every Wednesday nights. Guy's cute. Although in a weird way. Watch it!

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