My fourth day of "work" turned out to be a bit different than the others...for the first time I was actually in the same room as some of the others :..a subject well get to after a few brief explanations.

The office always seems to be quite busy with around 10-12 "regular" employees plus a room where there are Spanish classes for immigrants and where frequently some of the volunteers (and I) work during the "morning", which for those of you who don't know means from about 9am-3pm. Something I was reminded of when searching for apartments..

Early on it was decided that I would have what could be interpreted as a two-week training period. I would be with Elena in "trabajo" Monday and Thursday and with Adriana in "Communication" Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Keep in mind that my days are from 9am-2pm when everyone has a break and when the majority of people leave the office...another tidbit of info I learned today. I still don't know if these people have other jobs or not. This is definitely a point to be investigated in the future...After two weeks we would have a feedback session and figure out how the rest of the internship would work.

The work on Monday and Thursday (in theory) consisted of interviewing immigrants that came in to the office looking for work. They were then classified depending on their situation (with official papers or without, already signed up in an employment agency etc...)and the correct forms were completed. Very happy to just be observing for the moment, I learned a lot about the diversity of immigrants that come to ACULCO.

From a 62-year old Bulgarian woman who is looking for work to be able to send money back to her daughter who is studying at the University to a young Dominican who was at the end of his time in jail and hoping to find something during the day (tercero grado?...almost the end of the sentence when they have the option to leave during teh day and just have to come back and stay at night), to a nineteen-year-old Sudanese girl with refugee status who had come to Spain by herself and who was so motivated to find work, each person's story was completely different and totally fascinating. How a glimpse of another part of the world is revealed in mere moments of listening...

This seemed to be a busy day and since there is not a lot of space in the office, I was sent to the Spanish for immigrants class :) This was a welcome change and the opportunity to meet new people and hear more stories...besides of course working on my Spanish. The class was relatively small with a variety of African countries represented (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali), Ukraine, and Bulgaria and was taught by a Cuban woman. What a truly fascinating intercultural exchange that covered a variety of topics...the next day while working in the same room I was invited for the second time (the first was when I stopped by to introduce myself) to a meal prepared by one of the students. A man in his thirties (a guess) from Mauritania had prepared (this was a debate since the woman from Bulgaria was convinced that men don't least not in her country) a delicious meal with fish and a spicy peanut sauce to share with the class...something everyone could partake in and what would eventually lead to a discussion about the recipe and excellent approach to talking about food in another language :)

My days in "Communication" were spent creating a calendar for the free-trade store associated with the NGO, Tierra Solidaria, getting addresses of university departments that might be interested in attending the eleventh "Congreso Iberoamericano de Inmigracion", looking for the latest articles in newspapers about ACULCO and correcting addresses for the brochures. Ok so it has been a lot of busy work but apparently it has helped and the people I'm working with are always friendly and smiling so that helps break through the language barrier...that shouldnt exist but that will be another entry...Today was rather monotonous as I worked with creating Statistics in Excel...yipee! I was able to review how to use the different formulas which was a good exercise...a long one so I'm sure I won't forget now :)

The best part was when I was invited to work in the office with three other people!! This may sound kind of silly but I have been quite shy, I think a lot related to the language, and so this was more than a welcome change. I was in the same room as the "Communication" team and the lawyer and was able to get to know some of them a bit...even an invitation to see my "boss" play guitar in a bar this Saturday...good things to come for I'm off for a "run/walk" in the beautiful park nearby...


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