Another blogger from Honduras had a post this week about a US set of expectations about complaining or making your voice known when you are dissatisfied versus a Honduran one. I always think that my level of frustration is the internationally accepted median for frustration...secretly knowing that is probably not in fact the case.
But as I think about it, and stand in some lines and get some less than stellar service...I realized that either I am getting quite settled in the culture here, I am mellowing, or something else has happened...like all the prayers for patience and peace are actually being fulfilled...of which I am fully convinced the latter has made a huge difference in my life.
The funny thing is that lately I have noticed more and more Hondurans here vocally complaining in instances where I either am not so compelled...or in situations where I find myself saying "you should know better...this complaining will get you nothing." Which is in fact the case.
Not to say that all customer service is terrible here. Quite the contrary. While policies may be haphazard or not designed in such a way to woo customers, I find most of the people I interact with helpful, polite, and very respectful.
A few quick examples:
1. Oscar was to pick up the pre-fab wall panels today for construction with the group on Friday. We did not know how much it would cost, so I sent him with a check to fill out when he got there. We have purchased many....many times from them in the past (have you seen the man cave or the wall around the property?) but today they said "keep the check. We will give you a call with the price later, just take the order now, no problem." Plus...when they did call Oscar they gave us another discount, and I deposited the money in their bank account later.
2. We have been having major roadblocks trying to get in touch with the Honduran consulate in Atlanta. But today I had a very pleasant and extremely helpful conversation with someone from the consulate in Miami. It was amazing...and at the end of the conversation (which she apologized profusely when she had to take a call from the mayor's office) she asked what our NGO was called, what we did here...just for curiosity not for any job related reason...and then thanked us over and over for our service to Honduras. Very cool.
In other news today, trying to create more unite and increase communication, especially considering there might be two more missionaries to consider in our group in less than a year, Valerie, Oscar and I scheduled a meeting to sit down and just talk about what we are doing, problems, things to work out, etc. Fortunately for me...we met while we walked. I had some errands to do, so we had a moving meeting. I am not a big fan of fancy meetings where you sit down at a conference table or whatever, and this was an informal meeting, so it worked well. I paid for the construction supplies, the clinic phone bill, changed some $ to Lempira, paid my cell phone bill (at different locations mind you) and we still got lots of talking done. Talking about whether or not the clinic can afford another doctor, long term construction goals, when Oscar could get away for vacation this year to show off the new baby to families in Panama/CR, our vigilante, and a bunch of other topics. It was a good meeting....we plan on doing it every month.