I have not been feeling particularly motivated in the work arena lately. This is probably due to a few ephemeral reasons: my sitemate Rachel is finishing up, which is giving me unjustified almost-done feelings; my work partner Jorge has been super busy with potable water things that don't directly involve me; and I am looking at two solid weeks out of site starting this Friday, for Fiestas Patrias vacation in the central sierra city of Ayacucho, for work in Lima on the Peace Corps environmental newsletter, and for a super-exciting visit from my friend Katie from home.
But I think mostly I'm just kind of pooped. Peace Corps plays a weird game with your natural sense of motivation, your "inner ganas," and Rachel and I call it. I understand that most people in the world go to work in the morning, and stay there pretty much all day, and do that at least five days a week. I understand that work is generally what people do with their lives. So people must have pretty powerful motivation to go to work, no? I'm guessing that, in the real world, your motivations for working are mostly practical: if you don't go to work, you will get fired, and if you get fired, you will not be able to eat, go to movies, furnish your apartment, buy sweaters, etc. I'll concede that there might be some motivation more along the lines of "If I don't go to work, what will I do all day?" But I'll bet that even if you love your job, that's not WHY you go to it every day. That's more a fun bonus.
The thing about Peace Corps work is, if you don't go to it, if you sit in your hammock and read or watch television or hang out with your neighbors all day, you'll still be able to afford food and movies and furnishings and sweaters about the same as if you show up at 9 every day. You're not being paid by the people to whom you are accountable, which is an odd disconnect. So you're not really going to work for anything but the sheer desire to get things done in your community. And, if you're me, this motivation kind of wanes over the course of two years. I'm confronted by my own laziness a lot more often than I thought I might be. A lot of time it feels like things will stay more or less the same whether or not I show up, and I like reading and watching television and hanging out with my neighbors, so why go to the office? I may not even have anything to do when I get there, depending on my counterpart's level of busyness.
I guess this sort of odd to write about, since I feel like PCVs are generally in the position of being the cheerleaders, the sole motivated people, fighting against other people's apathy, grateful for any kind of productive activity. And I'm often in this camp. So maybe what I'm writing about isn't so much my inner ganas running out as much as a slump. We'll see. Stay tuned.