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viernes, 30 de mayo de 2014

New Arrival at Para La Tierra

Hey there PLT followers! My name’s Kevin Siri and for the next 8 months, I’ll be working at Laguna Blanca Nature Reserve as the new Volunteer Coordinator and Museum Curator. I’ll also be involved with this blog to keep you all updated on the latest news from PLT. First of all, a little bit about myself. I’m half Irish, half French grew up across the Middle East as my dad worked for UNRWA, the UN agency which takes care of Palestinian refugee camps. I was educated in French schools until the age of 11 and then finished my school education in Norn Iron (AKA Northern Ireland to the non-Irish…). A move to Scotland beckoned after that to study Environmental Science. Ever since I was a kid, I was really into wildlife so it just made sense to carry that passion on through uni, in the hope of working in that sector once I was finished. I completed that degree this October past through the Open University whilst living and working in Glasgow with my fiancée. I’ve already had some experience in environmental businesses but this has primarily been on the ecotourism side of the spectrum whilst I was working towards my degree. I spent a summer working for a tour company in Lebanon setting up a hike leader training course and doing research into possible avenues for the expansion of ecotourism across Lebanon. Then, more recently, I worked with an ecolodge in Uganda to establish a community-based coffee processing project which would increase the revenue from the local village’s crops; whilst also helping with the running of the lodge. Once my degree was completed, the next step was putting what I’d learnt into practice so started applying for jobs in the sector. As I’m sure most of you know, it turned out to be a nightmare! Everyone was asking for 2 years’ experience as a project manager, a Masters, fluency in Klingon, etc, etc… You know the drill! But then, on one of my frequent trawls through ads for environmental jobs, a wee ad caught my eye. “Museum Curator and Volunteer Coordinator”, Location: Paraguay. Now, to be honest, apart from watching France knock their national team out of the ’98 World Cup, I knew close to nothing about Paraguay but, after a read through the ad and a look at the PLT website, it seemed like a really interesting position with an organisation that was doing some great work so the logical thing was to apply; although, considering how my previous applications had gone, I wasn’t overly optimistic. However, lo and behold, a week or so later, I had an email asking me to take part in the interview process. And there began the journey that landed me here, writing this blog in the middle of a very wet Paraguayan wilderness! I arrived last night after bussing and quad biking my way up from Asuncion and Laguna Blanca has far surpassed my expectations! Where else can you wake up to an amazing view over the lake and the songs of hundreds of tropical birds?!? Everyone has been so welcoming and it just feels so much more relaxed than any of my other first days on a job! That’s not to say that there’s not a lot of work to be done! There are a load of projects that I’ll be involved with and just can’t wait to get stuck in; whether it be finding scorpions by torchlight (!), working in the museum or just helping volunteers enjoy their stay; to name but a few…. Speaking of which, there’s a moth light that needs checking so I’ll be off for now but I’ll be back soon to keep you all updated on life out here. Wish me luck! Kevin