Friday, June 25, 2010


I have been asked a lot lately 'when are you coming home?' The question for me was a lot harder and complicated than 'my time in PC ends in December.' For work reasons I have been considering extending my service in the PC. I wavered back and forth for at least a month on what I should do. For me, the real question was 'What do I want to do with my life?' If I could answer that question then I could decide if it would be smarter for me to leave or stay in PC.

So, why have I even been considering extending? I originally said to myself that I would never even consider extending unless I had full time work, not as it is now: periods of a lot work and periods of very little work. Well, turns out that I do have full time work in my future. I have been and continue to be very busy with preparing project proposals. I am working with Fizuli's organization to design and prepare two projects dealing with building the capacity of 8 municipalities in 4 regions to be more democratic, transparent and citizen-orientated. There are two separate projects, one focusing on the 8 municipalities and youth and one focusing on the 8 municipalities and women. For the donor organization these projects will be a pilot program to possibly implement in other regions. Each of the projects will be 12 months and will probably start in August. After have been repeatedly asked, by both Fizuli and the donor organization, to extend my service in the PC to continue to work on these projects, I actually started to consider extending.

So back to the question of what to do with my life. After much prayer and seeking the opinion and advice of professionals in the various career fields I am considering I have finally come to a decision. I have decided to extend my time in PC for an additional 6 months, as of right now I am planning to leave in either May or June of next summer. (I have until December to give my exact date of leaving the PC and I am figuring out the best date for me to leave in regards to my plans for after PC.) I chose to stay for career purposes as I have decided to pursue the field of International Development. The reason I am leaving next summer is to give myself 2 months (1 month for personal travel in Europe and 1 month to spend with family and friends in the US) before I start graduate school, inshallah, next Fall. I will be taking the GRE in December and applying in January for 5 graduate programs to receive my MA in International Development or Public Policy (the program name varies from school to school). The schools I am considering are all on the East Coast, the majority in Washington, D.C.

So, that is where I am now - one year before I will be coming home. But, the positive side I will soon have access to video skype whenever I want to use it so I will be able to see and talk to you all for free, if you have skype! We will be getting DSL in Fizuli's office for the projects and Fizuli is going to buy a webcam and headset for me to use - so let me know if you want to set up skype dates!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Update at Last

As I was encouraging my youth to create blogs I realized how I have not updated my in a really long time. So, this is me trying to practice what I preach. I am slammed with work, which is nice. I am developing two project proposals that will work in municipal development and civic engagement. I spend most of my time working on the proposals, traveling back and forth to Baku for meetings (who would ever thought driving 4 hours for a 2 hour meeting and then back 4 hours in one day would become routine), talking through the project with Fizuli and staying up late revising and editing the proposals. I also have 3 clubs a week for my youth: sport night, movie night, and English lesson night (my least favorite). I have learned anything here it is that I do not like teaching English. But, I love my youth so I guess it balances it self out.

Other updates: It has been 19 days and counting with no gas, ie no hot water and no way to cook food. The gas pipes that serve Imishli are covered with water from the horrible flooding here (as Imishli, Saatli, and Sabairabad regions). But, it could be worse - it could be winter or my house could have been flooded. I have electricity most of the time, last week it was off until around 8 - 10 pm, but this week has been much more steady. I had a end of school party at my house last weekend for my youth. I made too much pizza and cookies, but I think they had fun none the less. I had an amazing time with my mom (she has all the pictures though so you will have to get them from her), her time with me went way too fast.

My youth at my house

My mom at a HIV/AIDS awareness training in Fizuli Region (a project I did, it as nowbeen completed)

Me, a shot from one of my youth