Monday, April 2, 2012

My Job and the Dry Season

My housemates are better bloggers than I am.
Well, turns out, not surprisingly, that I’m not the best at keeping you guys updated on my life. Sorry about that, but it’s not as though I’ve been avoiding blogging altogether. I have honestly been quite occupied. I’m very busy.

Seriously, with the mix of work, responsibilities in hogar, and duties around the volunteer house, when I do get some free time I’d rather not spend it in front of a computer. But, at the same time, I know this is important, so I’ll try to be better about posting updates.

I thought I’d take this post to tell you about two things: my job and the dry season.  If you’re in a hurry, skip down to the video and the photos; they’re probably more interesting. But for those of you who are wondering what I actually do here, here’s a little overview of my duties.

Office Hunter.

 Work has gotten busy and multi-tasking’s the name of the game here. When I first arrived I had a short list of assignments to do during my work hours and a lot of time to do them. That has changed. I now juggle many projects and office time has become a matter of prioritizing to know what to do first.  Although it’s stressful sometimes with so much to do, I have started to feel a real sense of purpose for being here in terms of my job, so that makes it all worth it. Plus, it’s nice staying busy.

Essentially, my job, Communications Officer, can be thought of in two categories: international work and local projects.

Photo I took for a "Child Story" article.
For NPH International, I have set responsibilities that I must complete every month. For example, I must write two news stories monthly that highlight something that has happened, is happening, or is going to happen here at the Ranch. Less often, I must also write an article about a child, an employee, or a volunteer. The subject matter of these articles is completely my decision. Starting now we also have a monthly video requirement (which of course I am very pleased about.) So be on the lookout for posts about that.

A birthday celebration I documented held for the youngest kids on the Ranch.
To read the articles I’ve been writing, follow these links to the NPH website:

1. "Working Together to Save Water"
2. "Birthday Bash in the Park"
3. "Chicas Poderosas is Back-In-Action" 
4. "Child Story: Edís"

Besides the monthly tasks, much of the international work is communicating with the NPH fundraisers abroad. They are always developing their own publications for fundraising purposes and they often request specific photos and information that will constitute their print-outs. It is then my job to supply them with whatever they request. If this photo or information is already on record in our database, I can simply find it and send it to them. If it is not, it is my responsibility to acquire it by going out into the field and taking the photos or asking for the information.  This type of work can pile-up fast, so it’s wise to stay on top of it.

Fundraisers love photos from our montessori school.
I must also constantly supply the international community with photography updates of the events taking place at the Ranch. This part I like to do. Although with so much happening I often find myself falling behind, with hundreds of photos to go through, edit, and upload to the internet. But taking photos is fun, and so is editing them. So I don’t mind it at all.

 In terms of my local projects, these are things that I do to help out directly here at the Ranch. We have so many different departments that are always doing their own individual projects and I am often asked to help out on the technical end of these things. People know me as the guy with a camera and a printer, so it’s not uncommon to get several daily requests for this type of help.

Dieuveck (NPH Haiti) with a pequeña during the Communications Officer conference.
Two weeks ago I attended the NPH International Conference held for Communications Officers that was held here at NPH Honduras. Communications Officers and Projects Coordinators -- which Honduras currently does not have – (anyone looking for a job?) attended the workshop from all the other NPH Homes, which included Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. We had an intense three days of meetings, discussions, and fieldwork. Overall it was certainly a productive week. I came out of the workshop knowing better the responsibilities of my job and how to go about doing them. It was also really nice meeting these people who share my job and with whom I frequently communicate via email.

There. Hopefully that gave you a better idea of my job and wasn’t too dry. Oh, and speaking of dry…

The dry season.

The current state of the dam from which we get our water.
We are in the dry season, which means hot weather and little rain.  This is the Honduran summer, and with this weather comes many consequences. Dusty air, deafening cicadas, forest fires, and lack of water  - the latter two are what can cause concern. To hear more about our water situation, please read the article I recently wrote for the NPH website. I linked it above with the other articles.

To learn about the fires, watch this video. These types of fires are not uncommon during the dry season. This is footage that I took this past Sunday (yesterday). When a fire such as this starts on our property, and keep in mind that our property is HUGE, we send our oldest boys and their caretakers to handle it. They must prevent it from spreading down to our homes and endangering the rest of the Ranch. Equipped with tree branches, machetes, and water spray tanks, the boys fought the fire for nearly seven hours. I was there for five of them, where I filmed at the beginning and end, helping fight the fires for the four hours in-between. Many of the boys from my hogar (San Lucas) helped fight the fire. The four celebrating at the end are all my boys.

Some photos. 

To see more photos, follow this link. I recently uploaded a lot more, and they'll be more coming this week.

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