Sunday, October 23, 2011

Frequently Shared Concerns (FSCs)

My Responses to FSCs (Frequently Shared Concerns) about Project Esperanza and My Personal Life Path Decisions

And some of these concerns are not necessarily frequently shared with me but I am aware that they frequently exist.

This post is in continuation to the Swim Down Together post. Some must think that I do all of these things, lead all of these efforts, and make all of these cries for help with an alternative agenda, a desire for power, and fame, or something negative. They must think that supporting the efforts would only encourage and support such negativity. Sometimes I think that others must just want Project Esperanza to fail for some reason, perhaps because they find it an ideal and unrealistic, perhaps they feel that its ideals conflict with the values and goals of their own lives in some way, or perhaps they are very accustomed to a paved path and see it as an anti-conformist organization and threat to their clear and paved path. I’m not sure. These are all just speculations. A final speculation is that people may not give the efforts and work much value and are therefore not motivated to make even si

mple efforts such as searching online with Good Search rather than Google or Yahoo, or to even read e-mails that notify of such simple opportunities. For whatever reason, I find that many do not wish to make even the most simple efforts to support.

Some people I think may fear that opening the door to any kind of support, no matter how small, may suck them into more or obligate them to do more, until this takes away from the lives they want.

Multicultural Marriages Can Be Trying

I have gotten what I guess we could call warnings from a few women regarding their own experiences with multicultural marriages. They have mentioned cultural differences being the hardest obstacle to get over. I agree that this is an obstacle but I also believe that it can create a rich family if handled correctly. However, I think that there is the danger that both my husband and I feel overwhelmed when completely immersed in the other's family and culture. Therefore, living in a country and culture that is neither his nor mine has likely been a good compromise. Our kids fit right in as well because the majority of Dominicans are actually biracial so they appear very Dominican, whereas they would be a minority in either of our respective countries. Here we are both minorities, which can be trying, but we both grew up in our home countries where we were part of the majority and have confidence that comes with that. It is good that our kids can grow up with that same confidence. We also spoke early on in our relationship much about the kingdom of God. Throughout our relationship we have sharpened each other and recognized aspects of our respective cultures that are positive and negative, worthy of cutting out and holding onto, thus seeking the kingdom of God, which doesn't practice any one culture.

Education of Our Children

I consider the matter in all aspects of the word and feel that a multicultural, trilingual education is quite rich. I have no intentions of allowing their formal education to suffer due to the poor education system in the Dominican Republic and plan to make efforts to keep that from happening. Additionally, I do realize that education is so much more than just the formal aspect. The practical aspect is just as important and I would argue that it could perhaps be richer here in the Dominican Republic than in the U.S. I feel as though preparing children to serve developing nations is much more of a service to God than preparing them to continually develop an already quite developed nation like the U.S., and the type of education they will receive here will do just that.

Too Many Projects Going On. You Will Burnt Out.

I am encouraged by something a leadership speaker I heard speak a few times at Tech said. He has images that he calls Habitudes and says they each teach something about good habits and attitudes of leadership. The one this reminds me of is one where there is a picture of…a factory or something.. and there are lots of spokes that turn connected to each other. One spoke in the center is very tiny and is surrounded by larger spokes. The smaller spoke is supposed to turn the larger spoke. In order for the smaller spoke to turn the larger spokes, it has to work very hard and turn many times for them to turn once. But there is hope for the small spoke because once the larger spokes get going, they generate more energy which actually then moves the smaller spoke. It is a lot of work for the small spoke (the leader) in the beginning, but it doesn’t stay that way.

Some people ask me if I think we have taken on too much and our efforts are spread thin. I then explain the reason behind things and the strategy then they normally don’t have any better solutions and see how things logically fit in. This page on our website gives somewhat of an explanation to our holistic approach to meet needs and reading about each program individually, along with its history where available, can give even more insight.

Too Much Honesty and Correctness

I have been told, throughout the life of Project Esperanza, that a “problem” is that I do everything correctly, without doing anything crooked. Many organizations use many tactics to raise funds that we don’t use but I find these tactics exploitive to the locals or deceiving to donors, etc. Hopefully there is reward in that and people can appreciate that and not punish it.

For example, there is an organization here that has one program that provides recreational activities to kids in a marginalized neighborhood but the recreational activities do not really affect their just gives them something to do, which there is value in as well, I am not denying that. They charge $75 a day just to be driven around and introduced to the program and some of the families involved I believe. Many visitors are here on a wee

k’s vacation I believe and just want to take a day for such a humanitarian effort and are involved on the ground for a very short amount of time. The visitors are then led to believe certain things and made to feel like saviors. Many turn into sponsors. I have been told on several occasions how the director of the organization bad mouths every other organization in the area. She has lied to people who have mentioned wanting to meet up with me, saying that I am out of the country, and she has bad mouthed others to me in our few interactions as well. I have heard much of this organization from its beneficiaries who critique it and from a few ex-sponsors who saw through it and ended up getting involved with Project Esperanza. But the method continues to work and the director lives a comfortable life with a comfortable salary from the organization.

This is a different approach designed and led by someone with a different point of view. I don’t think it’s based in truth but on exploitation, deception, and unnecessary competition, and I could never take this approach. I guess I should say this approach is based on unnecessary competition if true service is one’s goal, but if making money is one’s goal then the competition is necessary. So what should I do, submit to the crooked ways of the world in order to bring in money like a mother who gives in and gets involved in prostitution to feed her family? I have faith that there are rewards in holding out…and I honestly wouldn’t even know how to get involved.

Too Many Locations & Facilities – Why not consolidate into one?

Here are the six buildings we rent with their monthly rental prices in USD: Muñoz school building ($263), Padre Granero school building ($79), boys’ home school rooms ($66), boys’ home residential building ($66), Muñoz art shop building ($66), and the English immersion camp and pre-school building/volunteer hostel ($658)…so a total of $1198. The art shop and English immersion camp and pre-school/volunteer hostel are basically sustainable at this point as far as rent is concerned. The only building that we had hoped to more quickly generate an income to pay for the rent of is the Muñoz school building through the movie theater but that has not yet been able to do so. But this building is completely necessary as the school was overflowing in the previous smaller building. I had just hoped to make it able to sustain itself sooner. In the Padre Granero school, it’s pretty ridiculous how they run class in the small rooms where sound is not really blocked from each other. You see that many of the buildings are very low price. They can’t be consolidated in any way as one would see if they were able to visit them. They serve specific purposes in the locations where they are and to consolidate would mean to cut out beneficiaries or to bus them, which would cost more than renting these buildings.

If Funds Can’t Be Raised, Expenses Should Be Cut

I appreciate being asked questions as I know when someone is being asked to invest in something they want to investigate to make sure it is a worthy cause, but I will say that the overall suggestion of cutting back on expenses is quite insulting. Again, we are running schools and paying teacher salaries on an income that most US residents don’t feel they can run a four person, three person, or two person home on. I work sometimes 12 hour days and have been for years and have not been able to ever take out a salary like most directors of organizations do, and not that I would necessarily ever want to if it could be avoided.

I see that the only solution is to increase the income, not decrease the expenses! The expenses should be reduced on the US side, generally speaking, if we were to truly believe in equality. By that I mean, people in the developed world should reduce their personal expenses or the countries as a whole should reduce their expenses in order to support efforts to develop developing nations.

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