The Downside

2013-tanzania-276Stella Maris – Moshi – Tanzania

Two volunteers left the Tanzania project when I still had some time left. They had been there for over two months working on the library. There was a big to do about them leaving. Songs were sung, hugs were had, tears were shed.

This could not be said for my departure from Tanzania or any of my projects. My leaving was swift. In most cases, jumping on a moving bus or off of a motor taxi rolling into an airport with no one to wave me off. It occurs to me how I am envious of the attention those volunteers received on their departure and makes me wonder, did I do this trip all wrong?

I go back and forth to be honest, but overall, I do not think so. While I did not get to have the same emotional connection or tearful endings that other volunteers did, I hope my short presence in each place will make a significant impact in each project in a different way. I learned so much from each place and, I hope people learned from me as well. There are things that I will be able to share from one project to people in other projects so they can all grow to be stronger and more successful.

Even though I was away from “work” and people liked to refer to it as a vacation for me, my mind seems to automatically fall into the HR thought process. Uganda has a wonderful farm and a great training program, I want the representative from Tanzania to go visit and learn and bring the experience back. Tanzania has a wonderful school that they have built upon one year at a time. I want the Rwanda school to learn from their planned out process in fundraising and building and expanding at a sustainable rate. The Rwanda school plans out the trip day by day for the volunteer so they know what to expect during their time there, I want all of the projects to learn from that.

I find it harder and harder as the years pass to pull myself out of my HR head. Some times for the better, sometimes not so much. Of course I notice it when having discussions with my husband about his day and challenges at work.  I sometimes have to remind myself to just be there and not assess his or his employees behaviors with my work hat on.

In this case, I am optimistic that the HR thought process and my brief visits to multiple projects combined to have a positive outcome. Even if I am missing out on certain experiences, I hope it will create better experiences for everyone involved in the projects in the future.