As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, I’ve been struggling with inactivity at my apprenticeship. I work with Plan International, an international children’s rights NGO, in an office in the northeast part of Riobamba. While I’ve often struggled with the idea that “there’s nothing for me to do,” I’ve recently realized how much I’ve learned and observed, and it hans’t always been about children’s rights. Here’s a little list I’ve come up with that will tell you what my job is to me:
- I have gotten to travel all over the province of Chimborazo, seeing beautiful rolling hills, lagoons, paved and dirt roads.
- My tendency for motion sickness has been somewhat cured by being completely distracted by the surrounding beauty on the vomit-inducing roads.
- My boss has told me all the best places to eat in Riobamba.
- I have witnessed the beauty of a newborn colt while driving along the highway.
- I have seen a room full of adults laugh at the word penis, but I’ve also seen a group of 15 year-olds give a talk about HIV/AIDs and demonstrate how to use a condom on stage.
- I developed some translation skills when, at the last minute, I had to translate an interaction between a Norwegian woman and her Ecuadorian sponsor child.
- I have learned so much about strength. I have watched women older than time carrying massive bundles of wood or sacks of potatoes on their backs, climbing hills that the Plan vehicle has a hard time getting up.
- Finally, my time at the office hasn’t been completely fruitless. I’ve learned a huge amount about the situation of girls in Ecuador. I’ve learned about domestic violence and teenage pregnancy and about so many initiatives to educate teenagers and parents about sex.
So, I haven’t been doing nothing for four months, even if it sometimes feels that way. I’ve gathered so much information and I’m sure there’s more to come. For now, all I can do is show up at work at 8:00 every morning and see what the day brings.