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!!)

It’s been noticeable since being back in the country that food prices have gone up and I’ve seen the odd article recently which says that this is not a phenomenon that is unique to Peru, but that around the world many more people are plunging into poverty. The families with whom I work are certainly noticing the increases, so we are all hoping that they do not continue to rise whilst work continues with them to try and find longer-term solutions to their economic problems.

Not only did the Saints win away at league  winners, Brighton, but we went on a lovely walk near San Jeronimo today, going up to some ruins (pre-inca grain storage in the wind on top of a hill – a bit like a 500 year old fridge!) a shade under 3,800m. The ruins weren’t so impressive, but the views definitely were!!

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…

Peru’s presidential elections are upon us. Last week the five candidates were sifted down to two, with the whole nation casting their vote. The decision between the two remaining will take place in early June, when the nation will be obliged to turn out again and vote between Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori.

Mario Vargas Llosa, perhaps the most famous Peruvian at the moment (having one the Nobel Prize for Literature last year), and who actually stood for election himself some years ago, is quoted as saying that choosing between those two would be like choosing between terminal cancer and AIDS!

Humala, a former army commander, who is suspected of killing various innocents whilst in uniform and has nationalistic policies closely aligned to those of Chavez in Venezuela. Keiko is the young (same age as me!) daughter of a former disgraced President who is now in prison having been convicted of corruption charges.  It’s easy to see what Mario Vargas Llosa might have been referring to!

So, it all starts once again…. Given my love(?!) of filling in application forms, I guess I chose the wrong profession, seeing as development jobs are usually relatively short contracts. Nevermind, at least, I’ll end up with a job I love at the end of it, just hope that it doesn’t take too many applications to find the right one!

Today the form filling has begun, with an application to work with a major children-focussed international charity (INGO) and be involved in a junior project management capacity for a new programme they are developing. It would require travel, but be based back in the UK; in London to be precise. It definitely sounds interesting and great experience for me…

Got a couple more opportunities in the pipeline, so will just have to see what comes up. Watch this space as they say!!

The problem with deciding that you’re going to leave somewhere is that all the work you had stretched before you over the next few months gets compressed into much less time. The start of the next module at the Training Centre is mid-May, by which time I need to have written 2 new business courses from scratch, both teachers’ books and textbooks. That’s going to be a tall order in itself, but add to that the need to get the toilet project and the home-gardening project with the families finished and a new smokeless stoves project started before June, then it’s going to be a very, very busy few weeks ahead!

Being a teacher brings with it the inevitable marking. Well, in theory, at least. I’d spent last week teaching most of my students about how to design questionnaires and set them the homework of doing market research questionnaires for the products they are going to launch. From one of my classes, I only picked up one piece of coursework today (and not a very good piece at that), so I guess I won’t be spending quite so long marking as I thought.

With some time of my hands, I went out to see the Vegetable Garden I started with some families in one of the villages. I’ve been told that the families keep talking about it and are very proud of what they’ve been able to do (showing that it’s not just about improving diet, but self-esteem too). It was a bit of a surprise, therefore, to see that there were stinging nettles everywhere; it hadn’t been fenced in while I was away as promised and that something has been eating the cabbages. I’ll have to organise a workshop with the families to address some of these issues…

Problems with our hosting arrangements have meant a few weeks off-line, so apologies to our regular readers. Normal service has now been resumed, except that our photos are still not working properly. Our technical team is on the case and we hope to be fully functioning again soon. Please do not adjust your set…

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