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Taking Risks

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Today started off a bit gray and cloudy, with sad news from home in my inbox. I so wished I could transport myself across the continents with the blink of an eye...if only just to give a hug or two.

A hot shower and several cups of filtered Ugandan coffee did nothing to wipe away the haze. And, after a confusing conversation at the bar, I set off for a meeting with the Mercy Corps country director. I had thought that I was discussing my destination with a special hire (a non-shared taxi) driver. However, after gathering my things I walked quickly through the mist-slowly-turning-to-rain only to discover... I was taking a boda boda. A boda boda is a motorbike for hire. They are known for being very dangerous. And, although occasionally the driver wears a helmet - you don't. Women are supposed to ride side-saddle, but I didn't and I think it's OK for Mzungu (foreigners). Anyway, as I was riding along I was thinking two things: one, thankfully I have emergency evacuation insurance and, two, can you effectively use an umbrella on the back of a motorbike? No, would be the answer to the latter. Anyway... We were going fast. They roads are terrible. We were weaving in and around traffic. And, did I mention that it was raining? Then we ran out of gas and I was left at the side of the road. Twice. The driver promised to come back, which he did. But, for 10 minutes I stood on the corner in the rain having no idea where I was while everyone starred curiously. Of course, the second I got to the offices the rain stopped. But, it was too late; I managed to look somehow both totally windblown and drenched. As usual, I really know how to make a first impression.

Anyway, the meeting with the Country Director went well. I was just hoping for some advice; but, wound up with a job offer of sorts. He was planning to hire an intern to help with writing and editing reports and PR pieces. Perfect. I can do that. And, I just so happen to already be here. He just needs to get final approval from HR at headquarters back in Portland. It sounded like he had already tentatively asked about having volunteers and they said it was "discouraged", etc., etc., but didn't actually say no. So, that's promising. Taking the risk and coming anyway might have actually paid off.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Then, of course, there's the job in Rwanda. Part of me feels bad; but, that part is for the NGO in Rwanda only. I don't feel bad about backing out on the woman in the UK. She still wants me to pay an additional almost $600 to complete the placement. Plus, I have to pay for housing and a plane ticket there and back. Ridiculous. And, it's not as though I've been working towards this placement for a long time - it was a total fallback. Yeah, that's what I'm telling myself. No guilt. But, I was supposed to meet up with the executive director today sometime. I don't have confirmation from Mercy Corps one way or another yet. But, you know what? I just went for it. I emailed the Rwanda people and told them sorry, I couldn't afford it. Which is totally true. I am beyond broke. Plus, as I was wandering about agonizing over the situation, I saw a flyer for an American woman looking for a roommate for $100/mo. And, I thought, hey, even if Mercy Corps doesn't work out, there are plenty of other organizations. I can just get a cheap room and hang out. Whatever happens, it will be an adventure, right?

And, I'm all about adventures, remember? Yep, that's why I'm sitting in the bar watching Benny and Joon.

1 comments to Taking Risks:

christine said...

I'm utterly astounded that the "placement" lady would even think to ask you for more money. NO GUILT!