Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: We Want YOU!

Except instead of the US Army, we want you to join our non-governmental organization that serves Latin American communities. 

...Close enough?

In all seriousness, Program Director applications are currently being accepted for the 2013-2014 year! If you are looking for the opportunity of a lifetime, you should definitely consider becoming a PD in Guatemala (the best site...), Ecuador, or Nicaragua. When else can you adopt a completely new culture, play with the cutest kids in the world, learn a new language (or two, if you come to Guate!), and gain non-profit experience, all while making a real impact in a Latin American community?

Let me let you in a little secret, this experience is hard to find anywhere else. Sure, there are a cornucopia of different orgs that will allow you to teach English in some far away country. (And yeah, they may even pay you.) But the experience I've had here in less than 3 months is worth so much more than any amount of money I could gain by teaching a language I already know.

While I do teach English here, that's not where my work ends. We are encouraged to build relationships with people in the community, attend extremely interesting cultural events like parades and celebrations, and make new programs/modify existing ones.

To me, that last part is the most exciting. I came here in July with the intention of creating new programs. While that is definitely in the process, it has also been very rewarding to be asked to assess the work that has already been done here. At training we discussed a little bit about what it means to be in international development/community development, and since then I have been observing how our work here fits in with that definition. We are all continually discussing what we can do better, what can change, what should remain the same. We are excited to create our own community survey to ask Chaquijyá what they see as their biggest needs we can/should address. We are talking with other local organizations about how we can partner with them and therefore make a bigger impact in the area.

This experience has certainly been challenging, but in a truly beautiful way. I am being challenged and in turn challenging our approach to the way we do things. I feel empowered to make a difference, and therefore I will be empowering others in various ways-- whether through teaching them how to better take care of their children, filter their water, how to respect the environment, how to start or run a business, etc. I can't think of anything more beautiful :) And I cannot wait to see where we all stand when my time here is through in August 2013.

Won't you help us continue the great work we're doing?

I hope you do. :)


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