The Adventure Begins...
San Pedro Travel Blog› entry 3 of 18 › view all entries
I have only been here 4 days and it is already strange to be writing in English. I did not realize it was possible to immerse myself in a language to such a great extent. Not only have I been speaking and writing only in Spanish, but I also have been thinking in Spanish as well. Yesterday I assisted a colleague from work with a presentation and a 4 hour course for female entrepreneurs called a "Charla" regarding microfinance and the sustainability of businesses in the face of competition. I took a page of notes then began to read back over what I had written. I was shocked to find that I started writing in English and a third of the way down the page, I had subconciously switched to Spanish without even noticing.
Other than the language, a lot has changed for me.
In regard to my work, I have been focusing on 2 tasks:
For the research component, I have been assigned the task of creating a survey/a system with which to measure people's satisfaction with the microfinance organization I work for. I need to create documents for investors, loan recipients, potential recipients, and employees. The goal is to figure out what the organization should stop doing, keep doing, and start doing. With this information, the organization intends to alter its processes based on various levels of satisfaction in order to best serve their customers, employees, and followers.
2) Classes/Group Work
For this component, I have been asked to shadow women who teach courses for this organization. The courses focus on entrepreneurship- how to start a business, the necessary resources, etc, in the first two weeks. After those two weeks, the courses shift to loans, microlending, how to apply, etc. The next four weeks consist of the generation of paper-work and business plans, the distribution of loans, and courses that are specific to the women's chosen trade. For example, my second day here, I sat in on a class for a group of women who are starting a massage studio. The group was in their 5th week of classes and they were learning about the powers of a healing massage, practicing certain techniques using various videos, and learning about the importance of aesthetics in a massage parlor. Yesterday I traveled to Cartago with another woman. While in Cartago, I helped with a four hour course for women in their second week of classes. This class focused on idea generation. Some women were focused on the sale of merchandise such as jewelry or clothing, but most were focused on agriculture. It is truly intriguing to see the ways in which the businesses vary by area.
All in all, I really look forward to all that I have to learn here. I have already exceeded my own expectations and I know that in this tranquil environment, I can do it again and again.