As of last week, the hurdle in front of me from the mental health specialists is over. Finally. I got my ex-counselor to give the Medical Desk a call and I guess talking to him eased their nervous minds. Strangely, I'm still not clear yet. When I check online, I keep seeing my progress held up in the "Legal" section. It says I have a legal hold. Nobody's contacted me. If that hasn't been cleared by midweek, by God, I'm going to call and see what's up.
So that means still no word on an assignment. I know my faithful readership out there are dying to know. Trust me -- nobody is dying to know more than me. As soon as I know, you'll know. I'm going to try and finesse an assignment in either the Caribbean or Pacific, though. I really want to go to one of those two places. I know, I know: PC volunteers should be selfless and willing to anywhere the PC needs them. I must say, in my defense, that I do have an aversion to snow and cold weather that would keep me from serving in most of Asia and all of eastern Europe. I think I mentioned this in an earlier post. That leaves Africa, of course, and I have nothing against Africa but -- two years there?
Anyway, I'd go if they asked me to, but I think it would be a criminal waste of my knowledge. See, I have more exposure to the cultures and languages of the Pacific and Caribbean than any other place in the world. I lived in Hawai`i for a time, and have self-taught myself a lot about the culture and language since then (my friends would say I'm obsessed). The language of both Tonga and Samoa are very close to Hawaiian, giving me a leg up there. Heck, the modernized culture in both those places is recognizably very similar to Hawaiian modern culture. Shaka signs, floral prints, the works.
As for the Caribbean, my recent ex-girlfriend was from Jamaica and I spent a lot of time with her family in Miami. They liked me a lot because I was already way more informed on their way of life than most stupid white men, and I think this impressed them. I'd eaten breadfruit, salt fish, ganips. I didn't lose track of the conversation when they spoke in patois. I could talk about Caribbean politics.
Please, Placement Desk people -- if you want to maximize my value as a volunteer, send me to one of those places. I don't claim to know everything about life there, but I am familiar enough at least to be able to adjust faster and more thoroughly than most. Don't think my choices are based on some kind of American idiot notions of "paradise" or visions of white sand beaches; life in the post-colonial tropics is more complex and exciting than a beach can ever be. And, besides, you could say I have "unfinished business" in the Caribbean.
Sigh. More to come...