Thursday, July 10, 2008

Timeline of Change

The following is the timeline that lead to Megan and I's decision to change placements. I've attempted to write just the facts and leave my emotions for a new post. Keeping my emotions in check has been difficult. In the next few days and weeks I'll probably do a great deal of processing and crying. Luckily Evan's already been very supportive. :)

*Morgan calls to tell us 3 kids at the hospital don't go to the orphanage school.. (We explicitly told the orphanage director we would only test the kids who attended the orphanage school, not every kid in the village.)
*Megan confronts the orphanage director on the issue of extra kids at the hospital.
*Kids at the hospital not given lunch, snacks, or water.

*First group of kids must return to finish testing at hospital. Second group of parents and kids not told to stay home. Orphanage director blames the volunteers for not telling the parents.
*No snack or water for the kids at the hospital.

*I pay $500 US for the Pre-Unit students (my class) to be tested.
*I pay $5 US for all of the Pre-Unit students' medications.
*Former volunteer, D., calls Pastor Harry to inform him she wants to "meet with her friends, Megan and Michelle."
*I am pulled aside by a young, white male who says he's a reporter for a Seattle newspaper and a friend of D.'s. He tells me they found our blog and would like to speak with Megan and I later about our frustrations at the orphanage. I agree to meet with them later at a coffee shop.
*Orphanage director's husband assaults a member of D.'s group outside the hospital while Megan and I are there with the kids.
*Megan, Magnus, Mitch, and I meet with D.'s group. We agree with their frustrations with the orphanage director and discuss what we've seen on the ground the past 5 weeks. We give D. our full support, but explain that we're concerned about our safety. She tells us to finish the testing we're doing at the hospital, "because it's great work you're doing for the kids," and just to play dumb with the orphanage personnel. She reminds us to be conscious of our safety. D. tells us there's going to be a village meeting on Saturday about the situation at hand, but that we shouldn't come due to safety concerns.
*I develop a migraine.

*I develop a sore throat and a runny nose. Run a 100* F fever at night.
*I go to the hospital for the second round of testing on the Pre-Unit students.
*No snacks or water for the kids at the hospital.

*I have a sore throat, am congested, and run a 101* F fever at night.
*I don't go to the hospital because I'm not feeling well.
*Megan says there are approximately 10 kids in group 3 who don't go to school.
*Megan and Belinda pay for 30 kids' meds from the past week. Give to Pastor to hand out.
*No snacks or water for the kids at the hospital.
*D. calls to say that the orphanage director and her husband were arrested on four charges:
1. land issues
2. fraud
3. immigration
4. assault

*D. and group attend village meeting with village chief and community members.
*Megan and I receive text messages from Pastor saying we need to meet with ASAP and not to trust anyone because someone is trying to get us.
*Megan and I meet with Pastor and found out that the man from the international orphans program (whom I originally thought was amazing and really legit) wants to have Megan, Belinda, and I deported because we're on the wrong visa. Our volunteer program has us register under a tourist visa and not the volunteer visa. Pastor claims he can help us because he has a friend who works in immigration.
*Megan and I e-mail the director of our volunteer program about our concerns and fears.
*Megan and I call our parents to discuss the situation. I contemplate leaving.
*I am still sick with a 100* F fever and congestion. I begin to develop a cough.

*Megan goes on a walking safari in Arusha National Park with other volunteers.
*I go to AICC Hospital with our VPGC. Discuss the difficulties at the orphanage with the VPGC. The VPGC finally agrees with us and our frustrations. He apologizes for disregarding our opinions earlier in the summer and asks what he can do to help support us. My malaria test comes back negative and I'm diagnosed with a chest cold. I am put on two antibiotics.
*D. calls saying the orphanage director and her husband were bailed out of jail for $40,000 US by the international orphans foundation guy. The orphanage director and her husband have been banned from the village and must be out by Wednesday, 07/09/08. D. informs us the meeting went well and there was strong community support for her groups cause. She informs us that the international orphans foundation guy stole money from us by telling us that we had to pay for the HIV testing and for the medical care of kids 5 and under. Both are free in TZ. D. asks if Megan or I would be willing to testify in court on Tuesday. I tell her I need to discuss this with Megan.
*Discuss testifying in court with Megan. We both agree not to testify and that we'd prefer to do everything when we were back and safe in the US.
*I decide that I'm too worn down by the stress of the situation at the orphanage and am not mentally, emotionally, or physically strong enough to stay in TZ. Megan decides she is and wants to move to a different placement, outside of Arusha, to protect her safety.
*I call home to arrange my flights.

*Megan and I pack.
*Megan decides which city she plans on relocating to.
*D. informs us that without our testimony, we can't prosecute the international orphans foundation guy. We inform her that we'll give her all of our documentation once Megan is in the US. We tell D. we are in full support of the work she's doing to bring down the orphanage and advocate for the kids.

*I fly home.
*Megan moves placements.