Monday, February 07, 2005

Settling In: The Where When and What

Sorry for the long amount of time between my last updates. Everything became a whirlwind of information and work, and it has taken me a while to process all of it. Here I will try to summarize everything that has been going on.

First of all, when I wrote last week, I had no idea where I was going to be, or for how long I was going to be there. Finally (thank god) that has been figured out (for the short term). I will be based in Jakarta for at least the next three weeks, working as the communications/information officer for Aceh. Basically, this means that I am in contact everyday with people who are in Aceh, prepare things called Situation Reports, which get circulated around the globe, letting people know what Save US and Save UK are doing. I also go to a variety of UN-NGO coordinating meetings where the bigwigs decide what to do in Aceh. It is amazing to see how nonchalant they are about some of it. There is a decent chance I will be sent to Aceh in three weeks, to replace the girl whose job I am now taking over. It all makes sense, in some twisted way.

And I have also found out how long I am going to be here (at least). My contract has been extended until the end of March. I have decided that that will be as long as I am going to work as an information officer in Jakarta, but if they offer me something in programs, or in Aceh, I will consider extending longer. There is no way to know what will happen, as everything changes so rapidly in Aceh.

Other things I have learned: I am the youngest person in the office. I am the youngest expat by 6 years. The next youngest expat is 11 years older than me. I am the only expat without at least a masters degree. I guess that makes me feel special. And young.

So, Jakarta will be my home for the next few weeks at least. This is a bit disappointing, but will open up a lot of other opportunities. Yesterday, I joined the Jakarta Ultimate Frisbee League (thank you, Brigham Golden), and met a lot of very interesting people. I even met two people who had worked in West Kalimantan in 1998, who had heard of this young white girl who had been bitten by a bear. They were very amused to actually meet me. (On a similar note, I just learned that one of the women -in my office took me swimming and shopping when I was 11 years old. She was my mom’s boss’ wife. ) But more relevantly these people that I have been meeting are the people who are doing the type of work I would really like to do. Community-based conservation, rainforest action, etc. Good people to meet.

And so, those are the practical updates for the moment. Life is well, and I am settling into my job. There have been a lot of lovely cultural thingies to report, but I will leave those for the next post, which will be soon. Just wanted to get y’all caught up on the facts and practicalities.


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