The saga continues at the clinic. I think I understand better how things work around here, but I have to say I'm not happy with my progress, or lack of progress. I've made some very good friends, one or two of whom even confide in me, but I didn't come to this country just to make friends. The problem seems to be a lack of funds to buy the materials I need to get started.
Actually, that's not 100 percent true; the money is there, but it's not coming to me. I've asked several times, but everyone says it's up to Mr. Beton, the clinic manager, with whom I've never even had a one-on-one meeting. I did meet him in the beginning, when I first came here, but he was with a lot of other people, so I didn't get to discuss my project. I did meet his boss one afternoon, though, when she was on a tour of the clinic and passed by the office they let me work in. She asked me how things were going, and I said fine, except I had no money to buy materials. She said she would check into it, but nothing has happened. A few days after that, I asked for a meeting with Mr. Beton, but so far, he hasn't responded.
While I'm waiting for some movement, I've stumbled across another job I can do. I noticed one day that the clinic has no sign-in forms to record the number of visitors each day. I know the clinic needs this information because the ministry asks for these numbers every quarter, and the clinic's annual budget allocation is based in part on this information. The clinic used to have a form, someone told me, but ran out of copies several months ago, so the receptionist just keeps track with tick marks on a piece of paper. I asked what the old form looked like and then designed a new one and showed it to the man in charge of volunteers. He said it was nice and took it away for approval. I expect it will show up any day now at the front desk.
I guess the lesson in all this is that you have to make your own work, not wait around to be told what to do (like most of the staff here seems to do). Once you start looking for ways you can make yourself useful, there's no end to what you can do. At a staff meeting they invited me to the other day, I explained about the new sign-in form and asked people in other departments to let me know if they had similar things I could do for them. I then mentioned again that since I wasn't getting the money I needed for my primary project, I had plenty of time to work on other things.
A funny thing happened at that same meeting. Mr. Beton wasn't there, so his deputy ran the meeting. One item on the agenda was a report on the progress of the addition that's being built on the back of the clinic, to consist of two more examining rooms and two waiting rooms. Ground was broken last month, but nothing-and I mean nothing-has happened since. But in his report, the deputy said we had made great progress on the addition. When I asked him when construction was going to start, he said he didn't know!