First, I want thank Denise and Andrew Koch for choosing to fund my internship in honor of the late Professor Koch. I can see why this country holds a special place in their hearts, as it already does in mine.
Now, for a play-by-play of what I have been up to since my last update:
First on my list of to-do’s was finding a place to call home for these 10 weeks. I arrived in the middle of the semester here, so most short-term housing options were already occupied. After visiting a number of student residences, I came to terms with the fact that I was definitely going to be sharing a room, and combination shower/sink/toilet bathrooms were standard. So, as any of you who know me will not be surprised to hear, I chose the only place that also offered a closet.
Next, I met with Fernanda (“Fer”), who is primarily in charge of communications for CEDHA. She gave me a rundown of the types of activities CEDHA is focusing on currently, and suggested some reading material for my meeting with Daniel (the Executive Director) the next day. Fer and Daniel have decided that Fracking should have it’s own page, so I’ll be in charge of designing and implementing the new site.
Daniel and I met for lunch the next day, at Buen Pastor, a common meeting place in Nueva Cordoba. Daniel told me that the building was previously a women’s prison, and on Saturdays men would line up around the block to visit their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. Now, Buen Pastor serves as a public space in the city. The “dancing fountains” are a common attraction, as is the bar on the top floor, which is the only place in the city that serves beer on tap. Daniel gave me a brief history of CEDHA over a lovely lunch, and explained the different roles I could play while here.
I met with Fer again later in the week, and got a quick tutorial on how the CEDHA website works. We met at her house, along with Eduardo and Luisina, who are also volunteering for CEDHA. Both live right around the corner from my new “home,” so on the way home they gave me some pointers about the best grocery stores, etc. After joking about the unfortunate-ness of the mattress on my bunk bed, Eduardo, who I had just met that morning, dropped by my new digs with a spare mattress. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers! I was the envy of the whole place. I live with 18 students, the majority of whom are in their first year at the university (yes, folks, I’m back in a Freshman Dorm).
With housing and introductions taken care of I have been able to focus on getting acclimated to CEDHA and navigating what my role will be while I am here. It appears that I will have a great amount of autonomy in terms of what my contributions to the organization will be and how I complete them. First on my self-appointed to-do list is a general edit of the Fracking report published last year. Everything CEDHA does, including the entire website, must be made available in English and in Spanish, and translation is a tricky art form. With volunteers from all over the world, many things are neither written nor translated by native speakers. At the same time, it is important that everything CEDHA publishes is both accurate and professional. Daniel has been invited to speak at the World Shale Series-Latin American Summit; so much of my work over the coming weeks will be helping to prepare him for the event.
At this point I am both nervous and excited by the challenge of my work for this summer. Much of this is completely new to me, but I am sure I will be learning a lot. Until next week…