Wow. I don’t know how to describe what I’m feeling right now. Three weeks of desperate typing, fighting volunteers for chair space in the med unit, and frustrating changes, and . . . it’s done. The things you never expect to be doing as a PCV.
Basically, it was a giant clusterfuck. Ben and I have become fond of saying that if this project had been farmed out to contractors in the States, it would have taken a five person team at least a month to crank it out, cost at least a couple of thousand (more, for my bilingualism and his sound expertise), and all of the material would have been prepared ahead of time.
Instead, Ben spent two weeks, and I spent the last three, running around like madmen, trying to pull this thing off. Essentially, the language coordinators decided (about five weeks ago) to put together a pre-departure CD for our incoming stagiaires, to help them learn French. So when I got back from my tourney (about four weeks ago), they asked me if I could help. I said yes. They defined the scope of the project (about three and a half weeks ago), and started getting me material (just over three weeks ago).
With the Bureau, there’s a great deal of mysticism associated with computers and those familiar enough with them to make interesting things happen. There’s a certain amount of “oh, there are computers and ICT volunteers involved, of COURSE it will work and of COURSE it can be done inside of insane time constraints.” So I send out a plea for help (three weeks ago). Ben answered (saving my ass, as usual).
It was an interesting project. Useful or not, I learned a hell of a lot about managing an unmanageable project. The experience is going to help me a hell of a lot during the rest of my service. And after. And I have this strange feeling that this won’t be the last time that the bureau calls for something like this.
It’s not what I signed up for, but none of this has been, really. I’ve got the next couple of weeks to sit down and think about what I want out of my service, then it’s back in the saddle for another two months of all admin, all the time.