Today was my first day in the office, and it was even better than I had hoped. I spent the morning learning French, and meeting more of my team. We talked about my not only being American, but being Texan, and whether or not I had sisters (yes Ashley and Stephanie, I had to break the hearts of two poor guys when I told them that you were both taken, haha). Then I went to a meeting between my team and some local villagers where we answered questions and gave them a updates (I say ‘we’ I sat there paid attention to what wasn’t in Lingala). Then in the afternoon I read up on what we’re doing to catch myself up with everyone else.
Now, to give you an idea of my work environment:
The social department that I am in is the largest at the camp (I believe around 50 people)
I am easily the youngest person in my department (possibly a decade of difference between me and the next youngest)
Likely the youngest employee for the entire operation (2,000 employees)
I am the only white person in my department (I’m finally the ONLY tall generic white guy!)
As far as people that I have talked to know, I am the only American on the site.
Finally, everyone in my department speaks French, English, and Lingala, at the minimum. The other expats at the site are almost all South African or European, and speak French and Afrikaans. So, I am one of the few people that speaks English as their first language, and the only one that knows Dutch (not really a surprise there…)
I wish I could upload some of the pictures I have taken, but the connection here is very slow and so it takes 30 minutes to upload a single picture. I will upload many more when I take my next trip out of the country, but in the meantime I will include a picture of the kind of terrain I am working in from the plane ride in. The weather has been around 70 degrees the entire time I have been here, and should stay that way for eternity, which is awesome. When I told my co-workers that Texas was very hot, they said that in the mornings it was also hot here (maybe high 70’s), to which I laughed…
In short, it’s been a great first day, and I can’t imagine turning this opportunity down. They treat me great and I look forward to contributing to the effort. Thanks for reading!