Monday, December 29, 2008

Я не понимаю

Language is definitely an issue that you have if you join the Peace Corps. I mean, they do a great job during pre-service training, but you still get to site with such low capability, the simplest things can sometimes be difficult. But then again, sometimes you understand what people are trying to say, and you still don’t understand.

1. A guy shows up at my new office and asks if my boss/counterpart has faxed anything to him yet from another city. I tell him that I don’t know what he’s talking about. And my counterpart didn’t say anything about a fax to me (and we had spoken five minutes before on the phone.) The guy seemed frustrated, talked with some other people in the office, and then left.

2. Business plans. That’s what I do now apparently. Everyone in the office knows it. I hear it all the time. You do business plans, right? Yeah, I reluctantly say. Somehow, that makes sense to everyone else. Business plans. No direction on how many to do. Who to do them for. Etc. Just business plans. This is completely vague to me, but it’s so obvious to everyone else, they don’t even understand when I try to tell them I don’t understand.

3. Computers. That’s my other job. Although I am no computer whiz by any means, I would say I know more than average about most of the machines. (Highlights include fixing a scanner here, fixing the Internet (okay installing modem drivers), and installing printer drivers. Failures include two scanners, a printer, and an operating system crash. Sometimes it’s the Russian; sometimes it’s the hardware). Anyway…one of my new coworkers asked me about an accounting program and a video card. There were some other words in the sentence, but those were the main ideas. Accounting program. Video card. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how they would ever go together in the same sentence. Maybe when my language improves, I’ll understand what he was asking; I’m excited to know.

4. I had the following conversation with my new workplace today:

Me: Okay, say I want to open up a new business. A discoteque here. How can the business center help me?
Business Center: Right now, we don’t have any money to give out. We only have funding for our salaries. So we say, sorry, we have no money.
Me: So what help can you give me? I want to open a business.
BC: We can give you information.
Me: What information?
BC: Information about how to write a business plan.
Me: You mean, I could give them information. The information I wrote about business plans last week.
BC: Yeah.

So I still don’t understand what they do at the business center. Or maybe I do understand. And my brain just refuses to accept it.

(Written several weeks ago. Some of these have been cleared up. I help anyone out with business plans when they show up. One person has come. Once. The business center also gives out gifts to certain business men at the end of the year.

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