Down to the last week and things are really ramping up! I've unpacked and repacked from my last adventures, and it looks like I've got pretty much everything in order so that I can sleep soundly whilst abroad. Literally and figuratively. Most of my bags are packed, various obligations fulfilled, some good-byes already made. Although I feel on top of it all at the moment, I just know I'm going to forget something huge which will send me racing around that last day. For example, the first time I ever moved out of country I forgot to pack. Yeah, really- so I was up until 4am (needing to leave at 6am for the flight) just trying to get my bag ready. Clearly, I've now learned at least a bit since that past mistake.
Now that the big countdown has started, I thought it worthwhile to let you all in on what I am getting myself into:
I was originally in Municipal Services Development which would have involved "working at the municipal level with an institutional counterpart... a municipal employee, a city council member, or in a few cases, the mayor. The work is based on a project plan designed to increase and improve services provided by the municipalities through a) participatory planning and increasing public participation in the decision-making process; b) improvement of the tax revenue system through the creation of property tax database and possible computer training for counterparts; and c) improvements of municipal management functions in general."
My new assignment description in Community Economic Development is actually pretty similar except with a focus on community groups, municipal departments, and education/cultural committees (versus municipalities and cooperatives). In particular, my work can include "civic education- organizing and teaching people of all ages their rights and responsibilities as citizens; neighborhood commissions- helping to form or support existing groups to define and achieve their goals (often this means teaching them about project management, grant writing and how to work as a team); business skills- assisting individual business owners in marketing, finance, accounting, etc.; Construye Tus Sueños- a new course focused towards young people or women that teaches entrepreneurial skills and ends in the development of a business plan; IT/Technology- form/assist in the management of computer centers or help small businesses to incorporate computers into their administration. Some Volunteers work with municipalities to use GIS mapping skills to create various maps of the community for tax and management purposes. Many other common activities include working with/expanding community run libraries, teaching the importance of saving via family finance, work with artisan groups and more!"
Given this lovely description- it's easy to see this is right up my alley! I wrote my MA dissertation on participatory peacebuilding, so in a way I'm kinda doing just that. Exciting, eh? It's also a good combination of my prior experience in various coordination, volunteer, and community ed roles. One of my friends has fairly identified my new work as attendance and truancy intervention (my most recent job) on a slightly larger level. Haha- it's really true! I'll let you know just how true once I really get started.