A Primeira Semana…

A primeira semana foi cheio de novas experiências. O pessoal é tão acolhedora aqui que parece que faz muito mais tempo desde que chegámos. Por um lado a semana foi bem lentinho, por não saber fazer as coisas, e também pela siA primeira semana foi cheio de novas experiências. O pessoal é tão acolhedora aqui que parece que faz muito mais tempo desde que chegámos. In the generic viagra buy on-line course, learners can learn well as the Portuguese court were witnesses and great respect followed Bartolomeu over the next years. Communicate with your partner Do not try to operate or control your purchase viagra in canada partner every time. And Jayski’s popular paint scheme section helps fans stay cialis 20mg tadalafil abreast of the new looks for NASCAR race teams. If reported are to be beloved, more than viagra on line pharmacy 35% males around the world suffer from some kinds of erection troubles can be eliminated directly from the root and thus you can consider them as the safest option and moreover the capsules are also quite inexpensive in nature. Por um lado a semana foi bem lentinho, por não saber fazer as coisas, e também pela situação de seca, as familias mesmas estão numa situação em que não podem realizar muitas actividades proprias da esta época do ano. Mesmo assim, nesta primeira semana, participamos na recolheita de frutas e verduras com a Cilene, a matança e preparação das galinhas de Adenilde para a feira agroecológica, a aprengizagem sobre as plantas medicinais de Dona Geraldina, trabalho processando na Casa de Mel, e a reunião com o promotor para reclamar o direito da comunidade ter uma ponte sobre o novo ferrovia que estão construindo, em vez de deixar o assentamento isolado. Todo isso e sem falar das novas pessoas, o que estamos aprendendo da história do assentamento e a região em geral, das realidades das pessoas aqui.
Mais tarde vou entrar em mais detalhe das nossas experiências, mas por agora, ciao!

Preparation time…

I have been in Brazil for nearly two weeks now. It is so strange; the moment you set foot in another country, everything else seems like another life. Time is an odd thing; it feels like I have been here forever and no time at all at the same time.

As you can imagine, these last few days have been absolute madness, travelling from Recife to Serra Talhada, to Araripina, back to Recife, then back to Serra Talhada. This is the first afternoon that I have had to be on my own and have time to start the blog (and I imagine if anything that this will become more of a rarity). For those of you who don’t know, to give you an idea of the distances this covers – we travelled the length of Pernambuco State – some 750 kilometres more or less,  did the opposite journey, and after that we made the first leg of the journey again.

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The experience of being in charge of a group of foreigners, yourself foreigner, on the streets of Recife at night, however near to the hotel, is not my idea of fun. However, we all survived, and now it is Serra Talhada’s turn to welcome our group. Everyone has calmed down somewhat, eager to go to the community and start work. There is a great mixture of emotions flying about – from eagerness to suspense, nervousness and happiness…whatever, these are going to be three unforgettable months.

A preparação…

Pois, já faz quase duas semanas que estou aqui no Brasil. É muito estranho, no momento de aterrar noutro país toda a outra vida parece longe e distante. O tempo é uma coisa esquisita, parece que estou aqui toda a vida e só um momento à vez.

Como se pode imaginar, esses últimos dias têm sido uma loucura, de viajar de Recife para Serra Talhada, para Araripina, depois de volta a Recife, e agora de volta a Serra Talhada. Este momento é a primeira tarde que tenho para estar sozinha e ter tempo começar o blog. Quem não saiba, para dá-los uma ideia das distâncias que isso implica – percorremos a longitude do Estado de Pernambuco – de uns 750 quilómetros, voltamos, e depois fizemos a metade de novo.

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A experiência de ter um grupo de estrangeiros ao seu cargo nas ruas de Recife à noite, embora fosse pertinho ao hotel, não é a minha ideia de diversão. Não obstante, sobrevivemos todos, e agora toca a Serra Talhada acolher ao nosso grupo. Todos mais tranquilos, com mais informação, com muita vontade entrar na comunidade e começar a trabalhar. Emoções uma mistura de ansiedade, ilusão, alegria, temor…vão ser uns meses inesquecíveis.

Brazilian Sertão

After many months of anticipation, I am finally about to leave on a volunteer project working in the Pernambuco Sertão, North East Brazil. The preparation for this trip has been somewhat haphazard, amongst working and trying to tie up loose ends before I leave, but now there is little else to do except get on a plane on Monday and see what is waiting for me when I get there.

So what will I be doing exactly? I am going over with a UK organisation called International Service, who have decades of experience in the international development field. They are working with local partners in Brazil, both local NGOs who focus their efforts on the sustainable livelihoods of small agricultural communities in the Pernambucan Sertão. The Sertão, or Backlands, is a notoriously harsh environment, characterised by long periods of drought.

Whilst the traditional vegetation is that of “caatinga”, some of which is very valuable vegetation, much of the land has been degraded through years of cattle ranching and clearing for monoculture farming such as cotton. The organisations with whom we are going to work, CECOR (Centro de Educação Comunitária Rural) and CHAPADA (Centro de Habilitação e Apoio ao Pequeno Agricultor do Araripe), focus on the strengthening and broadening of production based on agroecology (drawing upon traditional knowledge, alternative agriculture and local food system experiences) in their communities and the dynamics of solid commercial projects, to build sustainable livelihoods within these communities.
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The work is community orientated and all the work we will be carrying out will be led by the needs of these communities. I am very excited about the project, and whilst I will not have reliable or frequent access to the internet whilst I am away, I will be creating a blog and uploading to it whenever possible.

I wish you all the best for the next three months, and hope you follow the blog!

Wow, over half a year…

I sat down to write this blog post, realising that I had been freelancing for around 6 months, and started to think. It seems a long time ago that I received a call offering me an interpreting job. The first time I walked in and met the client, they asked me if I came and did a lot of jobs like this. My answer was no. My answer is still no, it happens to be quite a unique job (as they so often are), but at the time it was no as the only other jobs I had done were a couple of doctor and hospital appointments in London and Birmingham some time before.

After seven months of freelance interpreting I feel that I have learnt a lot. I have learnt of the ups of interpreting – you nail a phrase exactly, the client compliments you at the end for a job well done, the variety; and the downs – strong accents (on both sides), giving bad news, and the client simply not turning up. I have to say interpreting has not disappointed for a job in which every day is different. I have interpreted in situations as varied as hospital appointments, probation and prison services, therapy sessions, child protection cases, occupational therapy visits, and a general assembly of Peace Brigades International, an organisation aimed at providing protective accompaniment to human rights defenders around the world. Now no one can say that it has been boring can they?

I have to say I am happy with my choice. Back in the summer, when I was working away on the MA project and taking on interpreting jobs to get by, I did wonder if it was the right choice, to go freelance straight away. How would I ever survive in London? However, where there is a will there is a way, and armed with an array of casual jobs I have taken on the freelance market. Alongside interpreting I currently do language tutoring, note-taking for students at universities (a great job, I would recommend it to any naturally curious person who likes to learn) and translation when it comes up (finally got my first proper length job just before Christmas and it was great). I mustn’t forget bar work sometimes too.

So, I have a busy schedule! And it is true, last year, when I was busy I would end up working sometimes seven days a week (you can thank the tutoring and bar work for that), and it sometimes seemed like it was all too much, then as soon as there was a hint that it would go quiet, a sense of impending doom (maybe a bit strong) comes over you, instead of enjoying the peace and quiet. However, after seven months, and a few proper days off at Christmas I feel more settled and prepared to successfully juggle my jobs and my time.
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So, any New Year’s resolutions? Well the PBI General Assembly taught me that I did indeed want to go into conference interpreting. This is not going to be easy. However the PBI job consisted of nine intensive days on a children’s camp in the middle of nowhere in Switzerland, with a group of three of us interpreting all of the presentations, workshops, work groups, you name it. Sometimes we finished at 10 o’clock at night, having started at 9 that morning. I loved every minute of it. The days leading up to my departure I was so nervous I nearly did not want to go. What if I couldn’t do it? What if they all think I am incompetent? Well I did go, and I can do it. I was lucky, the other two interpreters were wonderfully supportive, and the whole team of people were amazing, which helps no end when you spend nine days eating and working and sleeping in the same environment. The learning experiences that job offered can take up another blog post on its own. So it’s enough to say that that is my aim, which is going to take a lot of work and I don’t even know how many obstacles on the way.  Secondly, I plan to work at obtaining more translation commissions. I really enjoyed the job I was commissioned for before – it was the first “proper” professional translation work I have completed (many volunteer translations aside). Translation in my opinion provides an ideal balance for interpreting. The vocabulary and style you pick up from translating will provide knowledge for interpreting and vice versa, and whilst one can be completed from the comfort of your own home, the other gives you the opportunity to get out and meet people.

So I think that is my rambling done for now. I would love to hear any comments from people who have the same, or conflicting, or any experiences or views on the subject. I hope to hear from you!