Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8, 2013

Willoughby never did receive an answer to her question as to whether she could find transportation to the picnic site so she could travel there on her own after her doctor’s appointment. Since she wasn’t going to be there, I saw no reason for my going either.

I took the drinking cups I’d purchased as my contribution for the picnic and the paper I’d cut ballots for the election of president and made it to the library ten minutes ahead of schedule. Gulnara and Elena were sitting on a bench on the first floor waiting for the room upstairs to be opened.

When asked if either one of them had read or responded to Willoughby’s email, they both acknowledged not reading their email regularly. I then told them neither one of us was going to the picnic since we didn’t want to be out there for the seven hours they’d scheduled it for.

When I mentioned the procedures to be implemented for the election of the Forum president, Gulnara looked at me as if I’d lost my marbles and said no election was taking place at all. I reminded her of our discussion last Sunday at the KNU campus, but Gulnara and Elvira, who’d come in the meantime, denied such an arrangement had been made. I was livid with fury and only wish Willoughby could have been there to back me up.

Once upstairs, it was time for me to sign the certificates for Forum members who had either made a presentation or attended most of the sessions for the 2012-2013 school year. Natalia came in at that time and I related the incident about the election. She tried to sooth my anger by enumerating all the positive things I’d done for the organization the nine months I had worked with the officers.

There might have been around a dozen teachers present when Gulnara started to give a short PowerPoint presentation listing the accomplishments accrued during the last year. Elvira did the same and I was surprised she didn’t choke when she had to utter my name in conjunction with the trip down south. Asel skipped her speech, and then it was turn.

I started by saying that the time had come to say goodbye as most likely I’d not be seeing most of the teachers again and to indicate that while I was happy to have contributed to the grow of the organization, I still felt they weren’t doing enough to cut down on their reliance on the US Embassy for funding and their reluctance to find ways to increase their membership and raise funds on their own.

Since it was my last chance to address the audience, and especially the officers, I couldn’t help myself but to tell them that their practice of standing at the back of the room gossiping or talking business while someone else was presenting at the front was simply abhorrent. I reminded of my many attempts to get them to be quiet or to encourage them to actually sit down at the front and benefit from the knowledge the presenter was imparting.

Gulnara presented me with a beautiful silk scarf of the same nature as the ones I’d purchased for my family and friends. I was somewhat touched by the gesture, but disappointed once again when we started handing out certificates to people I’d never seen at the Saturday sessions on a regular basis. There was a woman in particular I’d never seen at all. She must have been somebody’s friend, that’s for sure.

The meeting was adjourned on time, and the marshrutka was waiting outside to take them to the park. Mairamgul tried to guilt trip by saying the trip had been organized especially for me when I knew this picnic has been held for several years at least. I was glad to see that Asia Hawkins, the Peace Corps volunteer, had come to join the group.

On my way home, I stopped at the supermarket and bought water, a large beer, milk and juice anticipating getting very thirsty when the temperature hit the 100F mark. Willoughby had agreed to come after her podiatrist appointment and I wanted something cold to offer her. She had a glass of beer and then went through the books from the embassy to see if there was anything of interest to her before I sent the boxes to Forum.

We discussed the meeting at Forum and she agreed that we had discussed selecting a president for the organization and that I’m not going crazy. Evidently, the officers decided that our opinion doesn’t count and will start the next school year without a president in place.

I sent the finished newsletter to Natalia and continued to work on my e-book to which I added another five pages from materials I had lying around and that I had forgotten to include. Will I ever be done with it?

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