Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Next Step

Last week I traveled to the capital, Tegucigalpa, for an interview I had with USAID for an internship position they were offering. I was super nervous for the interview because they were only offering one position this time around. (Earlier this year, they offered and filled two internship positions which I didn’t apply for.) This year-long internship will let me get a feel for international development work and I’ll be able to see if it’s something that I would be interested in doing in the future. After working in development for a year and a half, I have realized how much I enjoy this work and that my experience with Peace Corps and living directly in a rural community has given me a good firsthand idea of what it takes to have sustainable and successful development and the obstacles that come about when working to reduce poverty.

So, I was super excited when USAID called me May 13th to tell me I got the position!! For the first six months, I’ll work in programming in the office in Tegucigalpa. Basically monitoring projects that have been initiated in different communities and finding ways to improve efficiency and sustainability. Then for the last six months I’ll choose a department to work in which can be municipal development, democracy, agriculture, education or environment. I most likely will choose the environmental department where they will be working on a renewable energy project. But I have been teaching here in La Campa 7th grade English and Mathematics through EDUCATODOS, a USAID education program for adults who have dropped out of school but want to continue their education, and so the head of USAID suggested that I would be able to contribute to improving the manuals and books we use. So if I have time and if it’s allowed, I might want to work a little in the education department as well. Also, it’s a paid job (What?! Courtney making money?!) and would allow me to be in Honduras for another year. Now, before everyone starts moaning that I’m never coming back to the states, I plan on coming back at the end of September for three weeks when my Peace Corps service ends. Yay! And I definitely plan on coming back again in June 2010.

Through Peace Corps, I think I have finally found a field of work that I really enjoy. My heart has always been in environmental conservation and sustainability and I have always been mindful of living a sustainable life that takes into consideration our wellbeing as well as our relationship with the planet. For me, environmental awareness and conservation are key aspects of international development. How can we improve work plans or developmental programs for the people and at the same time take into consideration our environment? I have really enjoyed the work I have done in eco-tourism here in La Campa, generating income for the locals but also raising awareness of the beauty of the nature around us. Also, the stoves project turned out to be a success because there is less smoke in the houses and thus less respiratory infection, and at the same time there is less deforestation. A career that focuses on the improvement of the human condition while placing emphasis on the environment and sustainability seems like a perfect career for me. And now I have the opportunity to get a feel for what that type of work may be like through this internship. On another happy note, one of my best friends here, Mary, another PAM volunteer from my group, was one of the two who got the internship the first time around. So we are gonna find an apartment together in Tegucigalpa. Woohoo! Wish me luck and I’ll see you all in September!

2 comments:

dad said...

great blog, Courtney. See you in Sept. Love Dad

dad said...

great blog, Courtney. See you in Sept. Love Dad