For those unaware, I have been working for the past two years on a masters degree in Geography with a focus on international development, refugee issues, gender violence, poverty reduction, and humanitarian assistance, with the intention of pursuing a career in the international community. It has been difficult for me to push myself to leave the comfortable job I've held for over ten years, but was prodded to action when I was provided an opportunity to travel to India. This came about in a most miraculous way - my family often attends events in the area sponsored by different cultural groups and in August we went to an Indian Independence Day celebration sponsored by the Indian Association of Austion. We had a great time and stayed till the end in order to hear the results of the raffle - and I WON the grand prize, a round trip ticket to India! That was the impetus I needed to make a life shift and I searched for internships, fellowships, jobs, or volunteer positions and finally found one that felt like a perfect fit.
Early November I will be heading to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu to work with the Organisation of Development, Action, and Maintenance (ODAM) in the village of Tiruchuli, south of Madurai, closest large city is Chennai. I will be posting updates as I have them - the main surprise so far is that I need to bring my own toilet paper ;-) For details on the organization, check out their website at www.odamindia.org.
Check back to see the progress - but I can't promise I'll be working to keep this up until I head to India. I'll be busy packing and learning to speak Tamil!
Wish me luck,Bret