Sunday, April 5, 2009

Big News

I just got an email from Catholic Relief Services, one of the world's largest NGOs, the other day. I'd applied for their International Development Fellows Program, an initial one-year position with them designed to lead into a long-term career with the organization. After months of waiting, and a narrowing down from 500 to 150 to 50 to about 20, I found out.

I got it!

It's not 100 percent certain yet where I'll be, but as of right now, it should be in Francophone Central Africa. That means any of the following: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Rwanda, or Burundi. Nigeria is also on the list, but as an English-speaking country, I assume that won't be happening. I should find out exactly where within a couple weeks.

If you'd like to find out more about it, by the way, check out:

I'm pretty excited about it, as you can probably guess. It feels like a validation for all the volunteer and intern work I've been doing over the past several years. It means that I'm actually going to have a career in this after all, so it seems.

I'm very appreciative for the opportunities I've had with my current organization, but I feel like it's time to do something new. Like I mentioned in my last post, I've been working in communications here, which is interesting, but really not what I want to be doing long-term.

Also, and at the risk of sounding a little spoiled, I wouldn't mind something a little more comfortable. I'm perfectly content to live in challenging environments- it's the nature of working in development. With that said, to this point I've worked in Chad, northern Uganda, Niger, and southern Sudan, each among the hardest terrains on Earth. I wouldn't mind being in a place where it isn't 45ยบ celsius as a rule, where roads are mostly functional, and having a few creature comforts like air-conditioning and access to vegetables. With this fellowship, I think all of that will be possible.

My plan as of now will be to stay here in Sudan through the end of June, come back to the States, with training beginning in July. As I know more about my placement and work, I'll post it here- keep checking back...

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