you learn things you cannot learn any other way." -Mark Twain
In other words, experience is certainly the best education – or an unparalleled one, at least. No matter how much I’ve read about the processes and politics of NGOs or about the realm of human trafficking – being here, working here, and experiencing this culture and country is something wholly removed from expectation. My work with Animus continues and is surprisingly busy. My tasks are varied (though mildly mundane) and often very frustrating – but I am thrilled to have tasks in the first place. I cannot decide if this is because I am now more mature (ha!) and more willing to find work if it isn’t given to me…or if it is because Animus has a far smaller staff than Haki. (A little bit of both, I think).
My work with the website has come to a screeching halt as I encountered problems that were no match for even my superior HTML prowess. I emailed the company that owns the domain and did the basic appearance/formatting (which is terrible, if you ask me)…but that was a week ago and nothing yet. Here’s a link if you want to check out my skills:
I’m responsible for the addition and editing of content and links – and there’s still a LOT of kinks to be worked out. Be gentle with your criticisms
(wow, it is torrentially pouring…again…there’s even a cacophany of car alarms sounding off. If this place weren’t so green and gorgeous during the rare sunny day, I’d curse the rain away forever! I may drown on my way home…)
In the meantime, I embarked on a new project – the endless search for potential international donors. Much to my dismay, I was told that our most important, most popular function – the crisis hotline for victims – will cease and desist very soon, due to a sudden lack of funding. I find this problem perplexing: how did they manage to lose funding for one of the primary projects of the organization? If they lost funding, why don’t they have a back-up plan? Why don’t they contact current donors and propose a donation re-arrangement? And, the most important question of all, why don’t they have any existing list/compilation of potential donors? Do they go searching through the thousands of possibilities every time money is tight? Yes, as a matter of fact, they do.
I was amazed to see that there are indeed thousands and thousands of options – there’s foundations for virtually every problem, solution, interest and sympathy in the world. And, even more surprising (though also obvious, in such an opportunistic world), are the businesses making money off helping non-profits make money. Clever, I know. Well, thank you very much, but I am quite capable of conducting my own search! (It just took me 3 million and two thirds hours). Is that an exaggeration? Maybe just a little bit. (it was probably more like 2 million and one third).
Not liking the idea of having to conduct this heinous search more than once, I took it upon myself to compile a fairly comprehensive binder detailing as-of-yet-untapped partnership possibilities– including a handy reference guide at the beginning! Clever, I know. (take that you entreprenurial sharks!) It seems like the totally obvious thing to do, so I should stop gloating shouldn’t I? Well anyway, I outlined the grant requirements, included the applications and contact information, noted our corresponding strengths and programs, and presented my initial findings to my pleased-as-bulgarian-punch superiors. Just as I was ready to continue plowing through cyberspace, I was told: “this is just fine, you can stop. We don’t want to have so many options we don’t know what to choose.”
My response? please imagine a curiously mixed expression of horror and perplexity. Stop? Why? You should have as many options as possible! You don’t know what to choose? Well…shouldn’t you apply for them all??? I must be very green to this business. In my head, more options = back up plans when your most important program is about to crumble! AH!
I’m being a little bit of a drama queen. I enjoyed the work – it was extremely educational – and I am too young and too foreign to really understand the motivations behind such wacky decisions. I just hate to leave any potential untapped – especially in such a desperate situation. I also think my American mindset of: “efficiency! efficiency! more! more!!!!,” is making things a little difficult for me.
So, now that I’ve officially stemmed that project (although I think I will be doing some of the actual grant-writing next week), I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of proofreading and dictation – (my English skills are super-suave, you see.) In other news, I’ll be representing Animus at a regional round-table/conference at the US embassy in two weeks, which should be extremely fascinating. And, on the side, I am authoring a “help-manual” for future international interns. My supervisor wants something to give new arrivals so that their orientation is a little bit smoother than mine. It’s basically an extremely abbreviated version of my book- Bulgaria: how to find food, shelter and a mildly honest taxi driver. I wish there’d been a ‘me’ for me!
All in all, I’m a busy little worker-bee and I’ve been soaking up as much knowledge as my worker-bee brain can manage. In fact, I should probably say that I’ve been “buzzy”…haha! Okay, I’m sorry, I’ll stop.
Ciao for now!