Thursday, 12 July 2007

Turning Bhutanese (or Bougainvillean)

No bites or nibbles over the last few days, so I’ll have to revert to the mundane and humdrum, although I won’t go so far as to describe the procedure I went through to remove the old shitter in the second bathroom and replace it with a triple A water conserving Jasmine Deluxe – the type that makes you think you’re laying cables like a Windsor.

I noticed from my lunchtime internet surfing today that Rotten was spot on with his predictions about Grumpy Old Bull-Necked Man McCain losing it over this presidential campaign. Too much up-market accommodation in Alabama, Laird jets and limousines have eaten into his campaign war chest to the extent that he’s had to let his best buddy go from the team. Still waiting for those pics of him looking for a pizza in Baghdad to surface though. I also note that Mitt Romney is about to be prosecuted for strapping his dog to the top of the Chevy for a 12-hour drive back in 1983.

Okay, my latest job fantasy, apart from returning to Liberec to ‘teach English’ to unsuspecting nubiles for 3,000kc per month, or becoming a photographer’s assistant (the guy who sprays oil onto swimsuit models and checks for bikini line), is possibly to do some volunteer work abroad. I know I’ve mentioned consultancy as another possibility recently, but somehow I’ve got to surmount that hoary old Catch-22 obstacle first of getting field experience before ‘real’ employment in the development sector. There’s a rather good partially government-funded organisation here in NZ called Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) which advertises development jobs overseas for people with specific skills, i.e. not some sort of lame-arse conscience-assuaging sinecures for zit-faced liberal arts school graduates. And it’s not altogether ‘voluntary’ in terms of paying to work; volunteers actually get paid a small stipend for the work they do.

I know exactly the same sort of thought is coursing through your biscuit as through mine: what sort of skills could I possibly have to offer? The answer is naturally fuck-all, but a creative interpretation of my ‘career’ to date could potentially wangle something in a couple areas. For example, Bhutan is looking for someone to help set up an education qualifications framework, and I reckon I could just about do less damage than what we’ve done in this country. And Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures its affluence and standard of living via a ‘happiness index’ rather than GDP per capita, etc. Sounds like my kind of place. Then there’s Bougainville, where the semi-independent government wants a policy advisor and evaluator for local government issues. It’s nice and close to the equator, has near pristine flora and fauna (give or take an Australian mega copper mine), and Kiwis are particularly welcome there after helping negotiate an end to a civil war a few years back. What’s more, it has the makings of a good blog called A Bogan in Bougainville (‘bogan’ being Kiwi slang for something like ‘hillbilly’).

It really is pure fantasy at this stage, however, as I must serve out my current employment sentence until we set off to Prague next year and until the university studies are finally complete (just two more assignments to go). It’s only after the proceeds of the sale of the flat have been deposited in our mortgage account that I can attempt to bring the fantasy and the reality into alignment. Hopefully the missus will play along as she’s probably better equipped for development work than I am with her years of experience in logistics (am I repeating myself here?).

Bumped into an acquaintance earlier this week who is off to Abu Dhabi next month for a three-year stint as head of the higher technical college there. Sounds good earning bucket loads of cash and making good use of the 44 days of holiday per year, but 80% of the population is ex-pat and there’d probably be fuck all opportunity for meeting the other 20% in any case. Just trying to justify why I’m not firing off hundreds of CVs over there immediately…

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