My Apologies for the Back-Dating| June 18, 2011
MY APOLOGIES: This blog post is over 10 days old. When I wrote it, I didn't post it because of bad internet connection and these past few weeks have been pretty full on so I keep forgetting. Even though it's pretty out of date, I figured I'd throw it up here now and work on getting an up to date one soon!
The weeks keep trucking along and it seems like the end is too close for comfort, even if it’s still well over a month away! I’m happy to report that I now feel officially settled. Both in the city of Cordoba and in CEDHA. I still don’t quite have a firm grasp on how long siesta is, or when different shops are open, but I’m convinced that there’s not actually a schedule. Just shop owners rolling up their metal doors whenever they roll out of bed. This is my first time legitimately living in a city for a long period of time, and it’s starting to grow on me. There are always things to do within walking distance: food, shopping, parks, etc. I rather a 20 minute walk to the office than the 20 minute car ride to school.
One of the wonderful things about the work we’re doing for CEDHA is that it is incredible flexible and this allows us to take trips on the weekends see all that Argentina has to offer. This weekend the other interns and I split up and I’m in Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna) with an Australia friend of mine that’s been staying with us in the apartment for a few weeks. Valley of the Moon is said to have the oldest fossils ever found and some really striking rock formations. Unfortunately, when we reached the entrance of the park today, there was a real bad sand/wind storm that made it impossible for anyone to enter the park. We’ll try again tomorrow, and also go to another park out here that is meant to be beautiful as well.
We’ve all started getting a lot more comfortable with the people that we work with which has been really enjoyable! We had a company work party to celebrate Argentina’s Earth Day last weekend and all of the younger people in the organization stayed and hung out and it was really quite nice. We’ve also had people over for dinner a few times. Made a second round of American-influenced empanadas. We might have accidently (and jokingly) offended a co-worker with our banana and chocolate dessert empanadas, but the deliciousness was worth it. The atmosphere when we’re in the office is quite nice. We sit around a table in the back room all doing our own work, but talking to each other about various things. My Spanish is getting better. I can usually follow conversations, even if I can’t partake in them. And everyone is very patient with me when I try and formulate a few sentences here or there! I’ve started Spanish lessons and the teacher is absolutely wonderful. Hopefully that will help things a lot!
When I started this internship, one thing that really interested me were the differences between how non-profits and how businesses looked at socially oriented business goals. I don’t have the final dusting of clarity on that topic just yet, but I have been thinking a lot about the differences between non-profits and businesses more generally. One of the things I’ve noticed so far is the value placed on human capital. Non-profits depend on human capital, on people, in order to get work done. There are so many hours in the day, and there is an endless amount of good that non-profits hope to achieve. Having five or six interns in the office can really amplify the amount of work that can be produced. And tons of projects that would have an incredible benefit to society are left planned but unfinished because there just isn’t the time, or the person to carry them out. Obviously, the same concept applies to businesses, but it’s incredibly obvious when considering the fact that the interns double the size of the group that I work under.
The work that I’m doing is beginning to come together. I’m realizing more and more that the work I’m doing can be umbrella-ed under the heading of “access to information”. Which, as I struggle to translate and understand the Spanish versions of important information, is a cause that is fundamental to accessing human rights. Americans are spoiled, lucky but also unfortunate that the rest of the world is increasingly learning English. It means we don’t have to learn another language…but it also means we don’t have to learn another language. I’m happy to be able to make an effort while I’m here, but it’s unfortunately not an opportunity that comes around very often at this stage in the game. Hopefully I’ll get a good enough food forward!
It’s nice to return to the world of outdoor activity, hikes and beautiful scenery. Williamsburg is absolutely full of its own beautiful places and fulfilling nature activities, but unfortunately law school isn’t exactly full of time. It’s nice to be reminded of what a work-life balance can feel like and hopefully I’ll set the time aside to make it to a few more national parks in my own country when I get back. For now, I’m going to hope the sand/dust/wind storm doesn’t last a whole other day and that I can see some DINOSAUR BONES tomorrow!