Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Week 3: Hunchun, Pt 1 (Frustrations)

 Having already broken my resolution to write once every two days, I quickly fell into a routine of apathy. Instead I began to inhale books from the Arlington Library ecollection - at a rate of almost one a day. I felt I was trying to make meaning of these weary days. I realize now that the dull days are sometimes the best ones to write about. One's life is never all rainbows and smiles.

I stopped writing when my summer survey work here began to run into snags. First, we were asked by the head of the Tibet office to do stratified random sampling of participants - on other words, rather than randomly knocking on doors as we intended to do, we now had to get a list of village residents and choose from there. Tracking down the village leaders/list of names often took away the whole morning. By the time we'd intended to have 24 surveys done, we only had 7.

Then more trouble. One of our employees had a small issue because he was in the core zone of the forest checking out a tiger kill, and a rival conservation group got catty about it. Then another foreign intern was visiting a village on the weekend trying to get additional survey work done (not WCS organized) for his own research, and one of the women there called the border guards on him. He was escorted back to Hunchun by the border guards. Not good.

So now, we had to get special permission to go to the villages to survey - from the border guards, the border police, and then we discovered, from the municipal government. The only way around this was to find local volunteers who were not foreigners to come run our surveys for us. The volunteers are supposed to turn up this week.. but we were supposed to be finishing up this week. Instead of 100 survey responses, we have 17.
In the meantime, I'm stuck in the office trying to figure out how to organize my business plan, and am reading a lot of journal articles. It's taken me a couple of days to realize that this was one of the challenges of coming to an organization where MBA interns are not the norm, and what's more, to an office with only 3 full-time employees where the regular supervisor just left his job. Also that perhaps the 24/7 constant motion of the MBA degree has made me expect my life with a certain pace and variety that is completely unreasonable here in Hunchun. 
Usually in times of stress I would go dancing. I've tried running, pilates, and hiking, but nothing has been able to take the edge off of this frustration. Can't bake: there's no oven. At least I realize that it's not the office, or the people that I'm frustrated with, but the situation. At this point I just need to be patient with myself. And we all know how good I am at that.
Tags: business, conservation
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