I continue to think about the future and make an effort to open all the doors I can. This day in age, networking is a vital aspect of one’s future. This is a skill I feel I lack. It’s difficult for me to meet and greet people. I get nervous and am unsure of what questions to ask. A friend and I decided a few months ago we were going to take every opportunity to network that came our way. We both are interested in staying in Africa but without connections chances of that happening are lower.
So, over the last few months, I have taken up the offers to meet different ex-pats and African leaders in NGO’s, government positions and other organizations. This past week I was able to have dinner with an American man who has lived and worked in Uganda for the past 10 years. He does Public Health work and was able to give me good advice on graduate school and the steps I should take to go in the direction I’m interested in. He was also a PCV in Ghana back in the 70’s so it was fun having that connection and talking about PC and the impact it has on your life.
Last night I met up with the Chief of USAID here in Uganda. He brought 2 others with him. All three were former Peace Corps Volunteers from Burkina Faso, St. Kitt’s, and Guatemala. Again, it was great to talk to people who know this life I’m currently living. It’s also great to talk with people who have continued to pursue work and life in the development world. Hearing their stories and learning about their journeys is inspiring. It gives me hope and possibly a little direction. These three were wonderful too because they wanted to hear about my life in Uganda. They have an interest in what PCV’s are doing on the ground and lots of ideas of how to be effective. They were also very supportive about Camp GLOW and 2 of them are able to come visit camp next week!
I have learned there are really great people in the development world who genuinely care about you and your hopes and dreams. Even though they often can’t make any of those hopes and dreams come true, they still offer encouragement and support. Networking has become a chance for me to make new friends, to find like-minded people who provide encouragement, and to hear stories that offer inspiration for me.