Friday, September 24, 2010

All Systems Are Go

Well, folks, from the sound of things it actually just may happen. Yesterday I had my second interview and today they filled the second-to-last checkbox in my toolkit:

According to Kevin Brendle at Peace Corps headquarters, the reason I didn't get placed in the program for which I was nominated, is because that program was cut. He told me that given the present situation, I'm under consideration for a placement in community development. Specifically he mentioned working as a teacher either of English or health-related topics. I told him I would be happy to serve in either capacity. He also wanted to know whether I was willing serve in a more rural or more urban setting to which I responded that I would be equally pleased with either.

In other news, my WWOOF tour has begun to take shape. I've been diligently emailing potential WWOOF hosts and have gotten positive responses from a handful. One in particular is quite excited about my web skills (of all things) and wants to put me to work at an art collective and community garden she organizes.

Finally, I also received notice that CNCS has paid the interest that accrued on my student loans during my AmeriCorps service. The sum? A cool $857.13, baby. Stay tuned in November for when I take my next big bite out of my student debt.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Profile of a WWOOFer

Greetings, my name is Charlie Thompson and this is my blog, "Life Called". I created this post to share a little about myself with individuals and organizations seeking to host a WWOOF member.

About Me
I grew up in Tualatin, Oregon and attended Oregon State University for business administration and management information systems (MIS). During my last year of college, having already completed my business and MIS coursework and worked for a cumulative year in manufacturing, I decided to spend a half-year in Guatemala volunteering at an NGO and finishing my Spanish minor.

Returning to the United States near the beginning of the recession, I became an AmeriCorps volunteer to support myself and learn about microfinance. At the same time my interest began to grow in movements surrounding alternative food systems and international development. In July, 2009 I applied to the Peace Corps in hopes of pursuing the latter. While researching the former, I discovered WWOOF. Presently it appears that I will begin Peace Corps in January or February of 2011.

As a WWOOFer
I will be WWOOFing alone with no more baggage than I can carry on my back and in my hands. While I am not vegetarian or vegan, I welcome opportunities to have a diet free of meat specifically or animal products in general. I have had many group living situations, good and bad, and I am committed to promoting harmony and respecting shared living space and amenities. I am not shy when it comes to household chores.

I have a great amount of latitude in terms of lodging arrangements. I am happy to share a house or apartment with a host or occupy a separate building with a room to myself or to share a room. To give you an idea, I once spent a year in a cooperative house where we lived two-to-a-room and slept twelve-to-a-room. I am also willing and able to live in a tent if the climate permits.

I want to contribute whatever manual and technical labor I can. I have experience developing database-driven web applications and doing various tasks at nonprofit organizations including grant-writing and leading personal finance workshops. I have also worked as a dishwasher and a food-service worker, so I'm no stranger to blue-collar work. I want to gain practical, hands-on experience in various forms of food cultivation and generally become a more knowledgeable and conscientious consumer of food.

I am also interested in whatever construction, administrative, or related work you might have to offer. Also, I'm fluent in Spanish.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

My AmeriCorps year had me living pretty lean. I don't really trust the water in the house where I live, and while I am morally opposed to the concept of bottled water in principle, I'm finding it somewhat of a necessary evil in my present living situation.

These bottles represent 17 days' worth of water consumption from the four 1-gallon jugs I took with me when I left work August 20; my last day as an AmeriCorps Volunteer.

There's another bottle as well that I bought when I was in a jam. It's about half empty. Guess that means I'm not drinking a whole lot of water. About two gallons and three quarts (a little more than 6.5 liters) or less than half of a liter per day. I can hardly imagine how whole families get by with similar water conservation needs in developing parts of Latin America.

I'm reminded of a water situation that emerged while I was volunteering in exchange for room and board in Guatemala. You can read my blog post that mentions it here: