Cynthia Boruchowicz (Nepal)


Cynthia Boruchowicz (Nepal)

Cynthia Boruchowicz, a national of Argentina, is a second year PhD student at Maryland’s School of Public Policy (MSPP) specializing in international development. Her research involves the analysis of spending policies and their effect on labor markets. She holds a BA in Economics from Universidad del CEMA (Argentina) and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.  Prior to starting her PhD studies, Cynthia worked at the Inter-American Development Bank. She first was a Research Fellow at the Research Department working on issues related to housing, urban development and crime in Latin America and the Caribbean. She worked then as a Development Effectiveness Officer within the private sector of the Bank, where she provided development impact analysis for the operations of her division. Her previous experience includes positions at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) and at the Economic Section of the Embassy of the United States in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Cynthia's Peace Fellowship consisted of supporting a Nepali NGO named CONCERN in its mission to end child labor in local brick factories. After spending 10-weeks with CONCERN, Cynthia said, "I went to Nepal hoping to provide professional services to a local NGO, and in that way contribute to their capacity building. I ended up gaining more professional and personal skills than I've could ever imagined. Nepal and CONCERN will always have a special place in my heart".



An Argentinean Lost in Kathmandu

06 Jun

Literally. On my first official day to going to the office, I got lost.

If you think this is a blog about all the problems I encountered and had to sort out until someone rescued me, you are wrong. This blog is about the goodness of the Nepalese people, since that is what I experienced when I was not able to find my way.

Before coming to Nepal, everyone kept saying to me that people here were the nicest, more helpful and more resourceful ever. They were 100% right.

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Kathesimbhu Stupa

As I left Thamel (the EXTREMELY touristy area of Kathmandu) and started walking the crowded streets of the city trying to follow Google Maps, more and more people started asking me if I was lost and needed help. At first I thought I might look too confused, or maybe they were scared for my safety – after all, I was looking at my phone instead of looking at the road, which is nearly fatal in a city with no traffic lights, no side streets and millions of motorcycles. I soon realized that it was nothing of the sort; people were genuinely trying to help a foreigner that might have lost her way from the main attractions the city has to offer.

The 30-minute walk from my hotel to the office took me almost an hour. Every time I looked around, there was something spectacular that demanded my attention (and of course a picture). When I finally got to the street where CONCERN’s office was supposed to be, I couldn’t find it. Complete panic!

Since my phone was blocked for some reason (and my Nepalese chip was still not working), I decided to be brave and activate the roaming service to call the people who work at CONCERN. For some reason I couldn’t get to them (I still don’t want to check my ATT bill!)

I was literally lost in the middle of Kathmandu. No phone, no internet – what to do!? Go back to the hotel? Look around? I was really starting to look desperate when from inside a little grocery store, a man came out and, in a very rudimentary English, asked me if I needed help. I explained my situation to him and immediately he decided to help me. From his cell phone, he called the people at CONCERN. This time it worked! After a conversation where I literally couldn’t understand a single word, the owner of the grocery store told me to follow him. He left his store unattended and walked me to the exact location of the office! When I asked him how much I owed him for the phone call he just said “nothing, just remember me”.  I guess you all know where I will be shopping now!!

In less than a week in Nepal I understood why people here have the reputation of being genuinely good. Everyone is ready to help – even if they don’t know English or if that means a distraction from whatever they were doing. It is something a little new to me, and I’m very grateful I was able to experience it only after a few days in the country.

At the office, I began my daily activities with CONCERN’s team: Bijaya, the director; Sundar, the field officer and Prakash, the finance officer. I also got to meet Pemba and Karma, two of the previous beneficiaries of the program who are now working for CONCERN and on their way to college (you’ll read about their stories in the upcoming weeks!).  Oh, and of course there is Charlie, the cute office dog.

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From right to left: Sundar, Prakash, Bijaya and Cynthia

 

CONCERN’s team is made up of the nicest, hard working and helpful people ever – resembling the rest of this great country. I cannot wait to start working with them!

 

 

 

 

Posted By Cynthia Boruchowicz (Nepal)

Posted Jun 6th, 2017

7 Comments

  • Virginia

    June 14, 2017

     

    Wow Cynthia, what an adventure on your first day at work! Glad everything turned out to be fine and that you could cross Ring Road safely 🙂
    Thanks for sharing and please post a picture of Charlie the dog soon.

    • Cynthia Boruchowicz (Nepal)

      June 16, 2017

       

      Thanks for your message! I already have tons of pictures of him, I need to pick a good one =)

  • Victoria

    June 15, 2017

     

    I loved this post! =) I literally got nervous while reading it and thinking “She was lost in the middle of nowhere!”
    Keep on entertaining us with your amazing stories! And remember to enjoy every second of this life changing experience!

    • Cynthia Boruchowicz (Nepal)

      June 16, 2017

       

      Thanks for your message! Gladly everything turned out to work perfectly fine. Keep reading my posts!!

  • Iain Guest

    June 27, 2017

     

    Great introduction to Kathmandu and your fellowship! (Next time, head for those golden temples!) You’re right – the CONCERN team is exceptionally nice and great to work with.

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