Monday, October 6, 2008

My first day at POHDH

So I kind of thought a degree in sustainable development meant that I would play in the dirt a lot, and might also give some credibility to my firmly-held beliefs in recycling, urban gardening, alternative modes of transportation and my opinion that you shouldn't flush the toilet every time (which, incidentally is not really an option in Haiti and, with each 5- gallon flush, may well become less of an option for you, too).

Given these interests, I was somewhat bewildered to find myself at POHDH today, sharing an office with a woman who has multiple degrees in human rights law and speaks 4 languages. "How exactly did I get this job?", I was asking myself. It's not that I'm not passionate about human rights (for awhile now I've even been considering pursuing a Master's degree in gender-based human rights). But interest aside, my actual experience in this field is limited to a few university courses and a brief stint working on translations and grant proposals for the peace and justice division of CRS in Cameroon.

All that to say, I felt way in over my head. My job description isn't THAT terrifying, so I think my jitters are partially because of Kreyol. Don't let Ben fool you when he says that I'm "already fluent." I'm perfectly comfortable negotiating for bananas in the market, but my Kreyol-for-the-professional-setting is still sparse.

POHDH stands for Platforme des Organisations Haitiennes des Droits Humaines and is exactly that - a platform of eight Haitian human rights organizations with the following objectives:

3.1 To actively engage with the population in the struggle for the promotion and defense of human rights,

3.2 To allow its member organizations to exchange their experiences, to share their human and material resources and to consult together regarding human rights problems in Haiti,

3.3 To promote actions responding to the need for training in the field of human rights and the legal assistance problem in Haiti,

3.4 To assure permanent monitoring of the human rights situation in the country (the collection, verification and distribution of information).

Finally, the Platform must become a credible reference in regards to the monitoring of the human rights situation in Haiti, both on national and international level. The organization aspires to promote concrete actions in response to the problem of legal assistance in Haiti.

Note: the POHDH website is in French but has an option at the top to switch to an English version.

p.s. I will still play in the dirt as much as possible

Another note: I do also believe that UNsustainable development, even if its unconsciously unsustainable, like flushing a little bit of pee with 5 gallons of water, and the human rights situation in Haiti ARE very much interrelated, but we can save that discussion for later

5 comments:

nerkert said...

You can do it, Sweetie! God uses us most when we know how much we need him, so you're in good shape. We look forward to seeing what he's going through you and how much you're going to grow in some new directions in this job. Break a leg!

Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like this blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is not good.
A hug from Portugal

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

I deleted my comment because it sounded self-centered (I miss you, I miss having a job I'm not qualified for, etc.). Don't be scared of your job - God brought you to it and you'll be great. And in other news, I miss your hugs.

Laura said...

There is some progress...many newer toilets are low-flow 1.6 gallon, and I've seen these in public places as well as residential. At least since 10 years ago and earlier. I am not sure what the requirement is in the building code, and couldn't find it online. But your point is so urgent, about preserving and using our natural resources much more wisely & frugally!
p.s. I can SO picture you having a blast shopping in the market.:-)

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