Sunday, October 3, 2010

Feeling Grounded: Our New Digs

Two weeks. It has been both a whirlwind and what seems like forever. Before telling you some quirks about Bridgetown and how my life and work is going here, I have a confession to make. Much the groan of the majority of those who will read this, I did not initially want to come to Barbados. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person. But I’m a terrible person who is looking for direction and building on new experiences, and I guess I thought I would end up back somewhere on the African continent. The reason I’m letting you inside my mind, is that I’m still trying to shake that off and embrace Barbados and the Caribbean for what it is, beautiful, friendly and pretty developed!

Okay, so I’m not directly helping people who are plagued by conflict, or those who are malnourished because of crop failure, but I just need to get over that and move on so I can be successful where I am, not where I might wish I could be. UNICEF Barbados covers the entire Eastern Caribbean, including 9 other island states. In no particular order, they are: St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kits and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands. While most UNICEF offices are country-based, this office has to deal with 10 governments, 10 sets of stakeholders and 10 different cultures, plus logistical issues, and a pretty small staff to manage all of it. Issue-wise, the office deals mainly with programming in Early Childhood Development, HIV/AIDS and life skills, Child protection and social policy. I have not quite pinpointed my role in all of this yet, as all I have done thus far is update a bit of web content and become the most informed intern ever. I have a page of question to ask Patrick, my supervisor, but he’s going a contagious eye infection, so it looks like I will be flying solo a bit longer and teaching myself to be patient.

But it is a challenge when, for five days, my fellow intern Julie is going to Montserrat, a tiny British territory with a population of 5,000 people and an active volcano smack dab in the middle of it, to help with an Evaluation conference. Note to self – devise cunning and indirect ways to persuade supervisor to let me accompany him when island hopping. But more about work at a later point.

Enough of what appears to be complaining, because regardless of the fact that it is rainy season for another month or so, Barbados is lovely and homey. And I have to admit, it is rather nice that everyone speaks English here, even if sometimes der accen make it difcul ta undastan. After a short stay at a guesthouse right on the beach, the owner, a German cum Bajan woman named Brigid, helped us find a cute 3 bedroom house in a good neighbourhood, and affordable on an intern’s allowance. Sweet! We even have a lime tree in our front yard! So we are living in a residential area called Rendezvous Hill, a 10 minute walk up from the main road running along the South Coast.

Here are my contact details:
Cell: +1 246 268 3149
Address: No. 43 4th Avenue Amity Lodge, Worthing, Christ Church, Barbados, West Indies.

Big hugs and a turtle story to come,


1 comment:

  1. Amazing, Heather! Glad to hear how you are doing. I am super jealous that you already have a place to live... we have yet to find anything! But we are housesitting so thats a change.

    I look forward to reading more!

    - Katherine, (the CANADEM Intern in Tanzania)