Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the (physical and mental) search

homelessness brings with it all kinds of interesting side effects, it
seems. after the initial shock of borka's dramatics, I went through
all kinds of stages from 'whoa is me' to feeling on top of the world
about my new housing options and overcoming the obstacles placed in
front of me.

then I got to work, and my mood quickly settled in one specific area:
despair. it's not that the people at work were uncaring about my
situation, but it still wasn't quite as supportive as I had hoped.
when the manager and her friend came in to talk about my options, it
was like being under an interrogation lamp of guilt. we've never had
problems like this before. 'why didn't you stay in shutka like we
wanted. everyone else wanted to live with a Roma family and experience
our culture and lifestyle and there are no problems like this.' of
course, she failed to note that the other volunteers came for about
two weeks, as opposed to six months. I've done the homestay thing and
two weeks, totally fine. six months is an entirely different story,
not to mention that fact that I didn't stay in gutka because we found
no reasonably priced housing. when I asked if living alone in shutka
would be safe (a question I would ask of any new place, certainly)
they took it as a slur against the entire Roma people. when they found
out I had asked an outside source, a peace corps volunteer I know, for
help, they were beyond offended.

events like these bring out thoughts and feelings that may otherwise
lay dormant. I started reevaluating my role as a volunteer, and
combined with current events, started realizing how unsupported and
abandoned I have largely been throughout my time here. if work and my
managers don't support my time here, if they don't see the side of me
that I have worked so hard to present despite everything, then perhaps
this is no longer the best situation to remain in.

it's still a bit unclear, but unless things dramatically change for
the better, it may be time to make the situation better for both
parties. I've valued my time here immensely, but diminishing marginal
returns may be taking hold, as events tend to conspire together with
reason. I'll keep the updates coming as it unravels, of course.

oo and I'm staying at a hotel now, so I'm no longer officially
homeless. I'm also, on an exciting note, now able to shower as often
and for as long as I like. it's like a really, really clean heaven.


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