Nearly five weeks into DukeEngage, it’s hard to believe that I’m over half-finished into this incredible program. It’s been a difficult for me to find a consistent routine. Unlike my other friends in the program, my internship with Paisanos Unidos requires me to work remotely. I’ve never had a job that didn’t require me to go into an office and work a certain number of hours for that day. The flexible hours are nice, but in the beginning of the program, I often found myself working long days until all my tasks were finished. These days were then followed by short days, as Paisanos Unidos discussed what they needed to do next. I often felt exhausted at the end of the longer days, while the shorter days gave me time to recover. I found out that how easy it was to overwork myself this way. When I moved to my homestay two weeks ago, I knew I needed find a more consistent routine. I treated the local public library as my office and only did my work there. After limiting my work to the library, I finally found a steady rhythm and felt more energized throughout the week.
I attended my first Paisanos Unidos general meeting last Sunday and finally got to see how the organization functioned. Since it’s comprised of mostly parents, they do not have an office or official space. They hold their meetings at the House of Neighborly Services in Tucson, but this space isn’t always open so they have to be flexible. At this meeting, they discussed their last burger fundraiser and what needed to be improved for the next time, along with planning their next fundraiser. During the discussion, I was surprised how tense the room felt when there were disagreements about how the fundraiser should be managed next time. Despite how tense it got, it seemed that everyone had good intentions and wanted what was the best for the group since after the break, everything was back to being light-hearted. It was great to see that the group could have these disagreements, yet not let them get too personal where it effects the group’s dynamics.