WHEN LES AND I WENT into the conference we were as discouraged as anybody – the preceding week was not at all a good one in terms of work – we had been told outright that money used for visual aids was money that should be spent on shows – which, of course, meant: no visual aids at all; no educational effort on our part; no fulfilling on one of the – or our – Peace Corps aims to help in education – that all we would have to show for our two years would be having done a bunch of shows, which we didn’t feel were all that important or necessary. We could only hope that we could get them to agree at the start of the next fiscal period that money should be set aside for VAs separate and apart from that used for shows. But that still wouldn’t get us anything to show for our time.
By the time we came out of the conference we decided that maybe our contributions here would be just to get the system set up so that there is a separate budget for visual aids, so that whoever follows us can get things out, with out having to try and fight for the funds every time.
The two ahead of us produced a lot, but left no system whatsoever for continuing production or distribution. Their whole effort was based on the way they got along with one person, who is no longer here. So we decided maybe in terms of Kenya, since it does and will continue to operate on a very bureaucratic system, we may do more by establishing a procedure for others to follow. When it gets to the point of an African for this job, they just aren’t going to immediately find one able to handle the actual art and production and visual aids work and also able to handle finances and the constant hassle to get funds and establish procedure. This is just the way the situation is here – and I presume in most developing countries. They are all so terribly short of the qualified manpower they need in today’s world.
It doesn’t mean we are going to try to do less – if anything it has rejuvenated us – but we may have to be satisfied with less, and I think there is quite a bit of difference there.
After all the problems I told you about with our work just before the conference, I’d better tell you the situation now. Yesterday Les went to see the DDS, who told us no money. Well, the two of them sat down with the budgetary controller, and decided how much could be spent for the next couple of shows, that there is no money for visual aids now, but that visual aids and shows should be completely separate – that shows are publicity, and VAs are education and that separate money should be set aside exclusively for visual aids, that money for should be allocated to the people in the areas of the shows because people have to learn to have the responsibility. We decided one day you’re down – the next day you’re up!