It has been a little over 3 weeks with both of us running in crisis mode. What I mean by this is that we have been running around, trying to get things done just barely before the deadline, and everything we are dealing with is very urgent and needs to be completed NOW. It has felt like barely keeping afloat, not quite far enough ahead to deal with our responsibilities appropriately.
It has been exhausting.
This has been a result of a few things: On January 7, we began a 5 month Discipleship Training School (DTS) with 14 students from 5 countries. The first week of a DTS is always chaotic, with many details needing to be taken care of. In this case we are working with a brand-new DTS leader, on a base where Mike and I are unfamiliar with many of the small day-to-day details [Where do I get mosquito nets from? Where can we find mattresses for the beds that don’t smell like old pee? How can I get cash to buy the fruit/cards for student welcome packs? Do the students know that they will pay a fee for the pickup? The copier is broken – how can I print handbooks for students? Is anyone going to finish painting these rooms before someone is supposed to live in them? Do we have proper beds in each room for the students (ie, surely this mom shouldn’t have to sleep in the same bed as her 10-year-old son)? I think you get the point.]
In addition, most of the base staff did not return from Christmas holidays until Jan. 7 (three days after students started to arrive). This meant we had to solve many problems without proper information or tools.
AND, there have been some gaps in some of the staffing needs here. There is a phenomenal woman named Margaret who was returning from a year-long sabbatical to step into this role. She will be working with us to co-ordinate workduties, as well as with Mike in the kitchen. There were many things waiting for her to deal with when she returned on the 7th, plus she was our DTS speaker for the week. (This means she spent half of her days teaching.)
This week feels like we are starting to get our heads above water. The students are starting to get into a routine. Some of the things we have started to implement are starting to be understood (Mike isn’t meeting with work duty leaders every day). We are starting to be able to work on non-urgent things (such as accounting for the $500 I was given the afternoon everyone left for holidays to buy food, electricity, etc for the base staff and visiting team that were here over the holidays). We are even starting to be able to do things before the last second and plan ahead!
We are both feeling more hopeful, and are looking forward to the weeks to come.