Fellowship Orientation – Day 1

Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, January 8, 2014

Our first day of orientation was fascinating. From what I had seen in paper, I knew the group of fellows was an impressive one, but being there, hearing their stories, their motivations and aspirations, blew me away. From homemakers that went to become fearless NGO advocates later in life to entrepreneurs that have become crucial engines in the development of their countries, to a new mother that brought her baby to Thailand to complete this program. I can’t wait for what’s to come, for the exchanges of opinions, experiences, cultural practices, etc. Yes, there are many readings that we will be doing together, but I have the feeling that a lot of the learning will be coming from the participation in class.

The program is very well structured, not only academically, but also psychologically. I’m sure there’s a group dynamic that has been studied and analyzed, and that around those, Rotary International, the Peace Center, coordinators and administrators prepare the expectations and goals for a three month fully packed adventure.

I also was pleased to hear the interim deputy director warn us about the risks of burnout and secondary trauma in our professions and how we will be addressing this during the course.  I hope I can share some of the resources that I’ve been using through the years at LAFLA.

After class, I managed to get a full hour online wi-fi session with loved ones back home -all at different challenging time zones, which was comforting. Later on, I adventured myself back again into another mall odyssey, in the search of my computer’s power adapter -yes, of all things, this is what I ended up forgetting! So now, after a successful mission, I can write again from my laptop.

 Things to remember from today: meeting baby Kivan (Mezhghan’s 4 month old) and sipping juice frappées in Au Bon Pain while sharing stories with Anuradha, Turid and Mezhghan; the Thai culture session with Khun Sun from Chiang Mai; the exercise that made us go around the room to learn more from the skills/abilities of the others.

 For the record: I’m still debating with the idea of writing a blog while here,  but on the meantime I will keep logging these stories in Caro’s log.  I’m not sure if I can have enough interesting content for the outside audience? Will you read me?

 ¡Hasta mañana!

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