Laura Gordon

Laura Gordon (Survivor Corps in Burundi): Laura worked as an English teacher in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 and Thailand in 2003. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Oxford with a 1st Class degree in Modern History. After graduating, Laura worked in Uganda as a research intern for the Uganda Human Rights Commission. At the time of her fellowship she was pursuing her master’s degree in International Affairs at The Graduate Institute, Geneva. After her fellowship, Laura wrote: “I'm more comfortable in my skin now, and after a couple of years of wondering where I belong, I'm now sure that it's overseas in the development world. I love Burundi and I'm desperate to go back.”

On being a pincushion

07 Jun

I’m coming to the end of my preparations to go to Burundi – the visa was obtained in Geneva, but everything else has had to be done in the less-than-a-week I’m in the UK for. The least fun part came on Friday, when I got my vaccinations done. Since I’ve had just about everything under the sun, I was pretty sure I only needed two – Polio/Diptheria/Tetanus, and Typhoid. Turns out I also needed Hep B, Rabies, and Meningitis ACWY. I’m leaving tomorrow, so I had to get them all at once, two in the right arm and three in the left. I left feeling somewhat sore, particularly in the right arm, and feeling that the nurses comment that “you might feel a bit tired, and it’d be a good idea to lay off the alcohol” might have been a bit of an understatement. I also decided that at £300 for the summer, Malarone was off the menu, so it’s a couple of months of doxycycline for me – if you don’t know what that means, see here, and be sympathetic. All I can say is – I’m glad I’m working for an organisation I believe it, because I wouldn’t do it for anything else!

For the last few days in London we had training for the Fellowship, where we learnt how to operate the blogging sites, Google websites, how to shoot and edit film, and generally how to conduct ourselves. Most of it was OK, but the video editing will be a bit tricky – so look for all the syncing errors in my first offering, which will hopefully be up here soon! On the whole it was pretty helpful though, and gave me a much clearer idea of what’s expected from me and how to deliver it. It was also a great opportunity to bond with some of the other Fellows – Elisa, going to DRC, Fanny, going to Serbia, Christina, going to Prague, and Rebecca, going to Columbia. It was great to talk about what other people will be doing over the summer, and, since it was European election day and I was already on a European high, it also reminded me what I love about being from Europe – the fact that we’re all so close together and we can travel to each other’s countries and meet people from other cultures so easily.

Even more exciting, I’ve finally finished my school work, so all I have to do tomorrow is pack my clothes, get some money and travellers cheques, find a surge protector and some rechargeable batteries, make sure Pierre Claver knows when I’m arriving, scan my passport, go to the big Waterstones to find out if the new East Africa Lonely Planet is in stock yet, meet my sister for coffee to make sure she hasn’t forgotten what I look like, and get to the airport early enough to get through the Heathrow queues…! Somehow I think that the complimentary wine on Ethiopian that Lisa talked about is going to be very welcome!

Edit: Note to self, BUY GAFFER TAPE! If it can fix a car window and a broken heart, I need it in Burundi!

Posted By Laura Gordon

Posted Jun 7th, 2009

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