It took me 7 long months, 4 painful moments, and one phone call to finally figure out the reason I am here. I have been beating my head up against the wall trying to “prove” myself to the people of Moldova that I know something, even though I speak at a 2nd grade level on my very best day.
Today I was told that I haven’t taught my teacher partners anything. That I have just been “being the American” by their side. It was a painful moment. I have always known, but never been strong enough to speak it out loud, I need validation. I am a person who seeks approval. Having this trait makes Peace Corps unbearable. I am slowly learning how to find the approval within myself. But back to my point…
After the heart breaking moment of being told that all my work, all the long hours I put in to come up with creative lessons and posters, meant nothing to my partners; that I have shown them nothing… I call my program manager. Which was the smartest thing I have done so far. As I was speaking while bursting into tears, I learned exactly why I am here – in a way only a Moldovan can tell me. “You are not here to show us what you can do, dear Sarah, you are here to show them what they can do“. I was quickly brought back to reality. Quickly brought back to the goal. It’s as uncomplicated us building other people up.
This task will not be an easy one. It is so “un-American” to place the focus onto others and not try to show what I know. I think this is where the challenge lies for me. To put my insecurities aside, be weak when I am weak. To actually say, I don’t know, when I really don’t know – AND IN TURN ask – why? or How? to have others think. I need to pause and not have the answers. It’s simply not my turn. I need to develop others to have the answers. This is why I am here, desigur!