Saturday, December 18, 2010
Preparing for Change
Ecuador, November 2010. Three weeks of immersion in Latin American culture and Spanish language and close friendship. There could have been no better way to transition from Canadian civil-servant in northern BC, to Canadian volunteer in Central America.
My return to Canada included 5 days of "Skills Working in Development" training with CUSO-VSO in Ottawa. A great group and skillful facilitation lead us through topics we may or may not have considered such as: power and privilege, gender equity, cultural competency, change fatigue (aka culture shock), and we met with an ex-pat from our placement countries for a briefing on specifics we might like to know about, such as "A good icebreaker would be to ask about soccer, but don't say you have a favourite team!". In our medical briefing from Dr. Wise about rabies we were warned, "Don't play with dogs, cats, or monkeys, and by the way, puppies--are just small dogs." I may seek a pet goat I guess.
Now I am reviewing all the Spanish language, international development and tropical agriculture materials I can find in my little mountanous hometown in southern BC. And yes, watching "The Motorcycle Diaries" counts as good research.
Honduras, me voy pronto.