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It’s hard to believe how quickly my start date is approaching! But lots to do between now and May 28th, including finishing up my last month or so of school and graduating…! Last week, I went home for a few days to catch up with family and start to gather things I’m going to need. I went to see if I need any new vaccinations and found out that I’ve pretty much already covered all the bases from my previous trips. Glad I was able to avoid more shots! I also had some fun at REI and bought sweet new hiking boots and some other travel goodies but really, there’s not much I have to buy! I’m actually looking forward to minimizing, both in clothing and possessions and in lifestyle, since I know from my previous time there that day-to-day life in Pana is pretty simplistic – but wonderful!

I also just received a copy of my tentative summer schedule – since the Social Entrepreneurship Corps interns are actually arriving a few weeks before me to start their orientation, I’m really going to have to hit the ground running.

As promised, summer is going to be pretty jam-packed. I’ll be travelling back and forth between Antigua and Pana quite a bit to help out with the SEC program, which should be exciting – hopefully I can convince some Berkeley GPP students to come intern with the organization next summer! I think it’s going to be a great transition to work with the SEC program, especially since I’ll just have graduated and will probably be suffering from some GPP/Blum Center withdrawal…

Between now and then, I’m also going to be doing Skype trainings every other week with Michelle, the current Field Consultant for the Sololá region who I will eventually be replacing.  I’m excited to learn more about the MicroConsignment Model and more in depth about my new role with the organization. I’m also working on my Senior Capstone Project, which is basically going to be a 25-30 page analysis of the MicroConsignment Model, looking both at its theoretical underpinnings and its potential critiques.  For my upcoming trainings and for my Capstone, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research about MCM and the organization’s founder, Greg Van Kirk, and what’s both exciting and frustrating for me is how new and innovative the model is. It sounds wonderful in theory – both from the literature and from what I’ve heard from so many people – but it’s definitely been challenging for me attempting to learn about a model that has certainly been recognized thus far for its creativity and initial impact, but which still lacks significant in-depth, critical analysis, especially from external sources. Of course, I found this same problem when I was first familiarizing myself with Nest’s Microbarter model two years ago. I also know that as soon as I arrive in-country, I’ll probably throw all of my preconceptions out the window – there’s nothing like actually experiencing a development model firsthand, something I simply can’t replicate from my desk in Berkeley.

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