International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.
There are no easy ways to convey just how relieved I am to have found work. And not just work, work that I think I’m actually going to enjoy AND in a new location! Really, what more could I ask for? I just landed a grant from CIDA to work with UNICEF Eastern Caribbean office in Barbados as a Monitoring & Evaluation Officer. I couldn’t be more thrilled and am slowly adjusting to my new life on the island.
First, there’s beach everywhere 🙂 When hot, move closer to the ocean where winds (and the occasional shower) are sure to follow. People are genuinely lovely and although I’m exercising every precaution possible, it doesn’t seem that I’ll need to. They drive on the left, which you’d think would make crossing tough, but no, drivers politely stop traffic to let the random strangler find a way through. There is a lot of rum floating around the island, white, dark and coconut flavored are slowly making me like cocktails again. Vegetables are in short supply due to the heavy rainy season and imports are pretty expensive, but my dismay at this has been replaced by the vast array of fruits that are sure to join my palate, paw-paw anyone?
As for work, it’s just been a few days, but getting to know the office and the work done here is going to be an uphill climb. I’ll be working with the M&E Specialist who is virtually instrumental in identifying the problems existing on each of the 10 states in the Eastern Caribbean and balancing that with the budgets we have to work with to direct programs and plan for action. I think I’ll have my hands full. The other officers work in Child Protection, dealing with child abuse, corporal punishment, juvenile justice etc and Early Childhood Development, dealing with advancements in ECE, life skills advancement and HIV/AIDS – I’ll likely have more to say about each of these issues as time progresses and I learn the work more closely.
I’m truly excited to be working with a great group of people, along with my Canadian counterparts working in Communications, ECD and Sport for Development – who incidentally are my roommates! With the help of a German cum-Bajan lady, we were able to find reliable accommodations, in a nice residential area of town, not too expensive and 10 min walk to the beach! Fruit trees in the back cinched it for me and off we begin our life in the Caribbean.