Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Anybody's Guess

When I first moved here and I didn’t have a single acquaintance in the country, everyone told me that the first three months are the hardest. Again and again I was warned about those first three months. I was told that chances are I’d be perfectly fine friends with all the other months, but those first three – they were untrustworthy and I should watch out for them.

Well? It’s totally true. Those first 14 weeks or so were rather bullying and gave me a rough time. But now that I am ensconced in month four I am much happier. And busier. I have a life. Plenty of projects. Tons of toil and lots of labor and an abundance of amusement and friends.

But. This is such a weird profession that I am trying to be a part of.

I’ve been here four months and I have ten more weeks to go and it is time to start looking for my next position – my next “first three months”.

When I’ve been an expat I have always lived in sub-Saharan Africa. There are 54 diverse countries on this continent (out of a total of 198ish countries on our small blue earth) so I realize how ridiculous this broad generalized statement is (but when is love not irrational?): I love Africa.

Or, at least: I love Basse Santu Su; the lovely city of Addis Ababa; communal Kitgum; crazy Goma; beautiful small Harar; dusty hot loud vibrant Cairo; the huge birds in downtown Kampala; feeling safe enough to hitchhike in The Gambia and in Djibouti; wearing flip flops all the time; tailors and bright lovely clothes; all my friends; all those kids; etc. Etc etc etc.

I need a job with a salary. I need to begin my career. I can’t play volunteer intern associate assistant forever. So? So I have started to consider the possibility that the job I will be able to find may not be on this continent, this place AFRICA that I foolishly feel like I “know”, that I presumptuously imagine I somehow am a part of, that I love.

The opening that makes sense for my career – I want to be in HUMANITARIAN AID – may be in Asia. Or elsewhere. In three months I will probably be relaxing in Pittsburgh. In four months I could live anywhere.

Or maybe they’ll keep me here.

It’s really anybody’s guess.

1 comment:

Carly said...

That's the absolute beauty of humanitarian work, you could end up anywhere! But I'm hoping my next job will be somewhere in the magical continent you're so enamoured with.