When flying back over the Atlantic, I apparently had an organisation phone me in Peru and invite me to take part in a pre-interview by phone. Given that I was never going to get that message, it was fortunate that they followed it up a few days later with an email. The pre-interview came around and I did enough, it seems, for them to invite me to a final interview and assessment day. That was Tuesday. Late on Wednesday afternoon I got a call to say that I have a job!!!! I’m soon to become (on the 17th of October) a Country Programme Manager for World Vision UK. Having started to apply for jobs in April and got nowhere, the timing of this job couldn’t have been more perfect. In fact, we’ve just seen God’s hand at work throughout the whole application process.

For the uninitiated, World Vision is the largest grassroots development charity in the world; a massive organisation working in nearly a hundred countries, with their main focus being work with and for children. The UK office is responsible for fundraising and obtaining grants to run programmes in countries all around the world through the national offices in those countries. My job will be to manage the relationship between the UK office and the national offices in Bolivia and Honduras and make sure that UK-funded projects in those countries are running smoothly. I will mainly be working out of the Head Office in Milton Keynes, but with frequent trips to these countries to meet and build relationship with the people there and see the work on the ground for myself.

Rachel and I are now beginning the process of looking for somewhere to rent in Milton Keynes.

More paperwork surprises – I managed to beat my record from 2 days ago and was in and out the government office inside 2 minutes with the bit of paper in my hand saying that we are free to leave the country. Now just the question remains of what we’re heading back to. Job searching continues, but it’s highly competitive. I managed to get feedback from one of my unsuccessful applications and was told that my application was excellent, but I was 1 of 117 candidates!!

It’s official – we now have our flights to come back to the UK in September. When we get home there’s no clear plan as yet (much depends on jobs) but, with the work here with the Peru Children’s Trust about to enter a new phase, we nevertheless felt it was the right time to pack up and make the move.

Our forthcoming departure means that, more than ever, we need to try and make the most of the time left. We have had some precious times recently. We were invited to visit a family and chat with them because of some family issues they were going through. The husband said that they had decided to chat to us because, along with one other couple, he felt that we were the only people he could trust and he considers us as family. In Peruvian culture, this is very significant and encouraging to know that we have made a difference to one family at least.

Yesterday, I found myself up a mountainside with the same bloke and spent about an hour chatting and listening to his struggles as a father and as a husband. It was again precious to be able to share that time with him and just be there for him as a friend.

One of the things I’ve been planning on organising before leaving is a staff retreat to think about the identity of the charity and to strategically plan for the future. I had originally hoped to be in the discussions myself but, since I am now leaving, I have become the facilitator which means that I have been very busy over the last couple of days putting together materials and a programme for next Monday-Wednesday. Here’s hoping that it proves to be a valuable time away…

It’s not quite as bad as the opening of the sale at Selfridges, but when we produced a list of stuff that we’re looking to sell or give away before leaving we never expected to have so many people beating a path to our door armed with wads of cash. 72 hours later and we only have a small handful of items left to sell, so that is a weight of our minds. Still got all the packing and moving to go though!

Been a bit quiet from me for the last couple of weeks since I’ve had my head down. While this has involved a few job applications, I’ve also managed to get 3 new business-related courses written for the Training Centre, so it’s off to the printers today and then picking up the teaching and text books on Wednesday, just in time to start teaching again on Thursday. I had some of my students last week tell me that they’re loving the way the course is put together (low on theory and high on practise), although that hasn’t stopped 4 of my morning class failing the course. Still, I don’t think the course (or the teacher!) can be blamed for that one – they are, coincidently, the 4 students who never/barely ever turn up to class!

I’m also now half planned for the forthcoming smokeless stoves project too. Should be going shopping this afternoon to look at prices and allow me to draw up a budget and then I’m getting up nice and early on Friday morning to head out to a distant village where a local producer could well be able to make the combustion chambers, the heart of the stoves, for me. Should hopefully have more of an idea by the end of the week about what the scope for this project is going to be and how it’s going to run.

I subscribe to a few development job internet mailing lists. One of them encourages you to pay to receive notice of jobs by sending them to you free only at the last moment. So, when a job possibility (in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) landed on my electronic doormat this morning, I had to drop everything that I’d planned to do and dedicate myself to that. The application is now completed and in, but it’s going to be a long night trying to get done all the things that I was meant to be doing today (the small matter of finishing writing one of my business courses, by adding in material for 3 more weeks of classes!!)

Managed to get quite a lot done today on the business course I am writing, so I thought I’d send off another application whilst I was at it. So, there are now three irons in the fire, this one being in the Ecuadorian Andes  in a job that sounds fairly similar to the one I am doing at the moment, although for a much larger and award-winning organisation.

Another job application in, again for a job in the UK (with travel to Eastern Africa) and again for something that sounds very exciting…

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