Saturday, August 30, 2008

The last stretch of digivoice...

So! I'm nearing the end of the stretch for Digivoice Completion!

Started in mid-March for a 6 month project - all good in the hood I had thought, but I didn't count on the dynamics that I would have to battle along the way. Not only was I trying to run a project for youth - which is a hard enough task within itself, but I didn't realise (or open my eyes wide enough to see) how much political crap would come between me and my task at hand. How many stakeholders had how many unrealistic expectations and how much work I was going to have to take over to complete my project.

I knew I was going to have to step up a bit more than I have in the past - I knew that I would be taking this on as an individual instead of a team, but I did think that I would be supported by the community that had originally asked for this project.

No such luck huh.

Over these 5 1/2 months, I really feel like I have been tested to my limits. For a lot of it, people didn't seem to care unless they had to. That was so hard for me. I thought that I was fronting a project that everyone was passionate about getting into, and I know that they were - at the beginning of the battle quite a while ago. But this passion must have died through the battle and we were left with almost reluctance to meet expectations that the community themselves had put forth.

Within the first 2 weeks, I was told to create the project myself - from top to bottom. How difficult is that to swallow? I almost packed it in then - almost told them to find someone else before I had spent 1 cent. But Sifa was the one pretty much who talked me into it. He understood how passionate I was about Digivoice becoming something that would affect a lot of youth in our community, and so I decided to take that leap. For that, I am grateful to Sifa for - and for the support that he has given to me from that day to today.

Within a month, I realised that the people who were responsible for all of the Budgeting and Administration of the project was; a) inexperienced with such tasks, b) uninterested and/or c) too busy. So all of a sudden, my one job, became two. I didn't complain, didn't kick up a fuss, I just wanted my project to run smoothly, so I took over from the second month onwards - especially after realising that absolutely no tracking of my expenditure was being done.

Within two months, I began to realise that verbal interest from youth workers was not enough - I was meeting youth once and then getting the cold shoulder, brush off, or polite no's from people who had requested the project in the first place! I couldn't believe it and the First Big Hui really solidified for me just how alone I was. The team that I thought was keen and rearing to get their youth involved, was nowhere to be seen.

At this time, I had some amazing people in the community step up - and they have been there for me from this point through to the end - for this, I am thankful. Without these two people in particular, I have no doubt in my mind that I would not have continued Digivoice to it's capacity that it has achieved now. I may not have even continued at all.

Within three months, political tug o' war could not be politely dissuaded any longer and two key organisations began to pull - My project was the rope and I was trying to tight-walk along it! Arguments flying, discussions held, efforts slammed and behind the scene work falling to pieces.

Within four months, my body said enough. I had had it. I truly believe in wellbeing affecting all parts of self, and I sacrificed 'what could have been for myself' for 'what others had dreamed of too long ago'. For this, I will always be disappointed in myself. It may not have been all the projects fault - but I think that it definitely contributed.

And now, within five months, thin strands of the project that I have been working ridiculously hard on, seem to be falling into place - resembling something of the kete that I had originally desired. It's nothing like the mana I had wanted it to portray, and it is definitely not strong enough to hold the voices of our youth for long, but it is something.

At the end of six months, I will simply be glad that this is over. I will never work with one organisation within any financial capacity again, and I have a lot more work to do as a volunteer to support these youth onto other positive paths. However I hope to take out of this project; learnings that can only be learnt from jumping out of a plane.

One learns a lot about themselves when disaster or success is fast approaching.