I've gotten in the habit of getting up early in the morning. I like it. It's quiet, and one of the very few times of the day and night here where I am largely by myself. As sociable as I can be, I need that. My own solitude allows me to get into my head and begin to try and make sense of things, and now is a good time for that. I've got some challenges I'm trying to push through at the moment and this time to simply sit and be with my thoughts is appreciated.
I suppose it'd be unrealistic to expect that a six and half month commitment to living and being in a place like Haiti would come without significant challenges. By the nature of this place, challenges are everywhere. And yet, that isn't really what I'm talking about. The external difficulties of Haiti aren't something that, at this point, have really proven to be something seriously challenging for me to navigate. Yes, the infection in my foot was very painful, and made me a bit nervous, but that was taken care of. I've only been laid up for a day or two with minor illnesses. I've yet to get floored by malaria or dengue. In that respect I've been very lucky. It seems like every week a volunteer here comes down with something nasty and it really works them over. I've not yet been that volunteer.
No, the challenges I face now are based in many other things. I'm beginning to feel the disconnectedness of being here, particularly in regards to my relationships. I function very well doing my own thing, but I suppose that comes with the assumption that the people I love and care about are also doing their own thing and doing OK. For a while now someone I'm incredibly close to has had some particularly difficult times as of late, and I haven't heard from or spoken to him much at all. It is something that has been in the back of my head for a while now. Another relationship of a completely different nature has also become more complicated than I'd originally assumed it would be and I'm not exactly sure how to interpret what's happening with it.
Outside of my relationships, and the strain put on them by distance, I'm also feeling as if the project I'm running is falling short of where I'd like it to be, and, given I'm the sole team leader for it, I've really nobody to blame for that but myself. That is something I'm definitely struggling with. It makes me feel like I'm not capable, even though I know I am. I have and have always had the tendency to hold myself to a very high standard. When I hit it, I'm happy, but when I don't, I can go either way - push harder until I do, or retreat and lick my wounds, or distract myself to avoid having to acknowledge the wounds to begin with. I'm fighting at the moment to push myself past the weaker option, and make sure when I do leave Haiti and the biosand project I run here to pursue whatever is next in my life (that itself a giant question mark) that I leave behind a great project that is running well and will continue to in my absence. That is going to take a lot of work and a significant time commitment. It is also going to take focus, and that is something elusive for me these days. There is something in my life, something beautiful and at times challenging, that pulls much of my attention away from Haiti. It's nobody's fault for it, it's just the nature of the thing, but I have to pull that focus back, at least for now. At this point, given the realities of distance, I'm limited in what I can offer and what I can do, and while that can and I hope still will change shortly after I leave Haiti, for now there are plenty of people and things right here in front of me that can benefit from what I can offer, and there's no limiting factor in play. That is where I need to be.
Living and growing continues to reveal itself to be a process full of surprise, a dance that, as surefooted as you may feel, will still find you occasionally stumbling. And that's OK. Try and smile, find the pleasure in allowing yourself to laugh at yourself, and keep right on dancing. You only truly fail if you stop.