In the swing of things

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I wanted to get back in the swing of things.

Part of me views the past year almost as a break from the academic life because I was very much removed from it – living in Vietnam and working at SRD gave me the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate where I was and where I want to be and I found that I’m very happy with where I am and how things are going.  Vietnam has also taught me to learn how to go with the flow and take things as they come rather than try to control my surroundings which has proven quite useful.

Last week I made the big move to Toronto and started getting everything together for my Masters program and to work as a Teaching Assistant. So far I’ve found that the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo are quite different (at least in my experience), my undergraduate degree offered the benefit of really small classes and I found that I was part of an absolutely incredible group of classmates and friends. Arriving at UofT, I’ve found that a lot of the class sizes are larger, the interests of people within my program are quite varied as are everyone’s backgrounds, so its become interesting to get to know my classmates and to see where I fit in within the group.

I came into the MA program wanting to do a thesis project rather than a research paper, but following conversations with my advisor, it seems that the research paper option is more highly recommended as it provides more experience and exposure with different professors. So it looks like that is what I will be doing. I’m still in the middle of choosing courses as it’s really difficult to get into courses from other faculties so I still have some hoops to jump through.

I’ve also found that my knowledge in certain areas seems to be lacking, so I’m trying to put together a reading list of different books and articles related to my interests and to research methods in general that will help me better understand navigate through the assigned readings for class.

Anyway, in the next while you can expect me to continue to comment on current events and news that I find fascinating and relevant as well as for me to brainstorm on some of the information and readings that I come across as I continue my studies.

If you have any suggestions for readings please feel free to mention them in the comments section, I’d love to discuss them with you.

 

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Back in Canada

I know this post may seem a bit late, but I wanted to take some time to reflect myself before I shared my thoughts and reflections with the worldwide web. From past experiences, coming back to Canada is always the hardest part about leaving because you struggle with who you are versus who you were, you struggle with your next steps, how to integrate what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed into your life, you struggle with falling back into how you used to be or how you want to be. It’s a major learning experience and it takes some time and reflection each time to decide how you want to decipher it.

This time, I felt as though there was more preparation and the university set up some debriefing sessions to help us determine how to answer those questions. In addition, we aren’t coming back into a former life, we’re coming back to the completion of our degrees and the beginning of something completely new – whether its work, more school, travel, or no plans – so there aren’t old patterns to fall back into.

Personally, there were some elements of placement that I really struggled with, however despite these struggles, I would never trade the experience for anything. I learned a lot about myself while in Hanoi, I developed a completely different sense of independence than I could have in Canada, I challenged myself, and I realized that there are no limitations to what I can do or accomplish.

My time in Hanoi gave me the self-confidence to stand out from the crowd, to be myself regardless of what is happening around me, to stick to my goals, and to shoot for the stars. Prior to living overseas, I never would have imagined that I would be good enough for grad school, that I could get a scholarship, or that I deserved to be noticed in that way. But it really pushed me to work outside of my comfort zone and to recognize my own strengths.

Placement also brought me a lot closer to some of my classmates; there are people that I spent time with in Hanoi that I will be close with for the rest of my life. I’ve made friends that understand me more than anyone I’ve known previously and who are unconditionally supportive. The heart and strength that I’ve seen in my classmates astounds me and I know that they will accomplish anything they set out to do. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to experience placement with such a wonderful and supportive group of people, and I feel even more fortunate to have such incredible people in my life.

Participating in an international experience is about more than school, it teaches you things that you can’t learn about in class or in books. There’s a value to travelling and living overseas that you can’t get from anything else. No other experience encourages you to test your boundaries, nothing else will ever ensure that you learn about yourself and the world in such a genuine manner, and there is nothing equal to it. Regardless of whether you are studying international development or anything else, go outside and learn about the world, go experience it. It will challenge you and it will expand your horizons more than anything else ever could.

How can civil society contribute to policy?

Check out a website article I just wrote for the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) to see one idea!

Vietnam considering paying cash to families with daughters

It seems that the Vietnamese government is contemplating paying cash to families with daughters in an effort improve the ratio of births by gender. They believe that providing economic incentives to families will reduce the abortion rates of female fetuses.

I personally believe that while economic incentives can have a role in developing gender equality, this is not the way to do it. Instead provide equal opportunities to girls through scholarships, free primary school, provide job opportunities for girls, provide pension plans so that parents are not reliant on their children to provide for them, fund educational programs on gender equality, safe sex, and reproductive health.

Do not give money to families that have girls – that division and distinction plays into the belief that girls are worth less than boys, that the funding is a consolation prize for having a daughter. Work to develop a society that values the inputs of its daughters and women as more than wives and mothers; value women as equal contributing members of society because they are. Raise women to be more than just someone’s wife and value them for their work both inside and outside of the home; value them for their ideas, minds, and the potential that they have.

Work to create a society where each child is valued.

Tet (or New Years take 2)

Tet is the New Year in Vietnam (which you can read about here, here, or here); its a lunar new year and is the only solid week off that we get as interns here!

Myself and 5 friends decided to go to Bangkok and Bali for the week (meaning we slept in the Bangkok airport and experienced major taxi-induced anger, then relaxed and enjoyed the wonderfulness that is Bali). Read about how exciting it was to prepare from Daniel’s perspective here. If you want the details of the trip you can check out my friend, classmate, and travel partner’s blog where Christian explains the trip much more eloquently than I ever could. If you want more information on one of the trip highlights – climbing Mt. Batur (active volcano) you can check out my friend, classmate, and travel partner’s blog out (I’m actually going with her to Cambodia next week), where Madiha explains why it was such an incredible experience.

As they have covered the details so well, I thought I’d just share some photos.

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok (gold everywhere)

Bangkok (gold everywhere)

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bankok (Reclining Buddha)

Bangkok (Reclining Buddha)

Bangkok (Democracy Monument)

Bangkok (Democracy Monument)

Bali (Sunrise on the beach)

Bali (Sunrise on the beach)

Bali (Sunset on the beach - see a theme here?)

Bali (Sunset on the beach – see a theme here?)

Bali (Sunrise from the peak of Mt. Batur)

Bali (Sunrise from the peak of Mt. Batur)

Bali (WE DID IT)

Bali (WE DID IT)

Bali (The descent - Can you spot my friends?)

Bali (The descent – Can you spot my friends?)

Bali (Still descending. . )

Bali (Still descending. . )

Bali (Mt. Batur - Yes, we actually climbed that in the middle of the night with a flashlight)

Bali (Mt. Batur – Yes, we actually climbed that in the middle of the night with a flashlight)

Bali (Ubud - explored after climbing a volcano)

Bali (Ubud – explored after climbing a volcano)

On Entitlement and Respect

I’ve experienced a fair share of battles here regarding how men treat women, and today was no different.

While on the bus, the bus attendant announced to someone that he thought I was beautiful; someone disagreed and said I was ugly. This was followed by a fair amount of debate while pointed at various parts of my body and garnering a small attentive crowd. I turned around and announced that I understand Vietnamese and was met with silence.

People felt as though they had the right, ability, and freedom to openly discuss what they did and did not like about my body, while pointing to the body parts in question and when it became obvious that I knew and understood what was going on there wasn’t even an apology. Then on the rest of my trek home I had several men try to get me to sit and eat with them; what is it a joke or game to try to get the girl to sit down and eat or drink with you? Do people really expect that someone they have never met or spoken with is really going to want to sit down right at that moment to enjoy a meal with a stranger? I sure wouldn’t. But when I say no I’m met with someone who is shocked and offended that I don’t want to sit down with a strange man and eat whatever he offers just because he asked.

Just because I’m female does not mean I’m your property. Just because I’m different than you does not mean you have the right to discuss or debate my body. Just because you ask me to do something does not mean I have to say yes. I am human, I am not your property, I do not exist as a source of entertainment for you, and I deserve the same level of respect you want to receive.

American or British?

The English language has far too many differences in each region. If you utilize American English then your organization or center works extremely hard and put in lots of labor to run programs. But if you utilise British English then your organisation or centre works extremely hard and puts in lots of labour to run programmes. What does that mean for a development organization?

If you live and work in a country where English is not the first language then you don’t have an official national English dictionary, and therefore either of those options could be correct. But what would be incorrect would be to mix American and non-American English in the same document or sentence. This may seem boring but to an NGO working with partners and donors around the world it is remarkably important.

Development organizations are constantly stuck in this middle-ground, with no ‘official’ English in the country of operation they must constantly switch between different regional versions of English and this means tailoring each document to the donor or audience. This is hard enough to do if English is your first language, but even harder if its your second or third.

As much of my job involves editing and reviewing documents I get to spend a lot of time up close and personal with the oddities of the English language and this has made me more aware of how to properly tailor your writing to your audience. If your donor is British do not write a document full of the letter z or words ending in or. If your donor is American use the letter z all you want, don’t end words in our. This stuff matters a lot. Using the wrong language or the wrong grammar will make sentences and documents look ‘wrong’ to a reader and can very well be the different between FUNDED or BROKE.

Female Police Officers

Some officials of traffic police teams said that traffic policewoman regulating traffic during peak hours in the morning and afternoon at the major intersection would “create beauty and make the people more comfortable.” 

After the peak hours, these female police officers will return to the office.

A representative of the Road and Railway Traffic Police Agency said that the traffic policewomen standing on the podium to regulate traffic in rain or shine are beautiful images and some cities have used traffic policewomen to regulate traffic for years.

Why not have the female police officers act in full capacity like all police officers? Reward them for their ability and work, not physical appearance..

Merry Christmas to All

Venturing Vietnam

Merry Christmas to everyone around the world, no matter what day it is right now, what you are eating, who you are with, or how you are celebrating. Though many of us had a very different Christmas than usual this year, it was filled with touches of Canadian familiarity, lots of friendly faces, and three awesome helpings of Mr. Bean.

Just to provide a bit of a visual, here is what “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” meant for us in Vietnam:

On Christmas Eve, it was so cold in the office that I could only type for five minutes at a time. I took breaks to sit on my hands.

There was a very skinny man dressed as Santa standing outside a store on my street (that sells who knows what) giving out free stuff to kids (and who knows what the free stuff was.) He was…

View original post 225 more words

Singapore: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

One of the highlights of Singapore for me was the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve where I was able to spend time outside in a rainforest free from traffic, pollution, smog, people, and all the fun things I experience on a daily basis in Ha Noi. The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was established in 1883 and is a primary forest, an ASEAN Heritage Park, and the forests in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve are original to Singapore and have remained untouched throughout the nation’s history and development (during British colonization and intense logging).

It is also home to Singapore’s highest natural point, Bukit Timah Hill, at 163.63 metres; which of course had to be climbed. As the summit wasn’t too high, we chose to add a few kilometres to the route; adding on the Jungle Path (slightly harder than the Summit Path) and part of the Seraya Loop (to be able to see the Singapore Quarry.

There were absolutely beautiful trees, plants, and remarkably massive ants throughout the entire hike. It was really peaceful and the Jungle Path was rewarding because there were freshwater springs and pools of calm water. Getting to the Seraya Hut was also beautiful as you could see over the Singapore Quarry and there were much less people so it was very calm.

In other news, it has made me want to climb Fansipan (Fan Xi Pan) here in Vietnam even more. Which will be sometime in late February so if you have any pointers please send them my way.

Here are some photos! Including one of a tree for my sister.

The route (badly drawn by me in teal).

The route (badly drawn by me in teal).

IMG_0405

IMG_0415

See those stairs? They are around 1/4-1/3 of my height.

See those stairs? They are around 1/4-1/3 of my height.

Still alive!

Still alive!

Made it!

Made it!

 

International Human Rights Day 2012

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a seminar in Hanoi for International Human Rights Day and I must say it was interesting. I will not be posting very much about it for now, but in the meantime here are some select quotes and upcoming events that I thought were interesting as they apply to citizens of Vietnam, Canada, and the world. This was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate human rights achievements in Canada, Vietnam and the world from 1948 to the present.

Continue reading

What Vietnam has taught me. . .

I remember looking forward to placement and wondering about all the things I would see, do, explore, and experience. So far, it has been absolutely incredible; but then I was thinking about how I’m working so hard to make the most of the  time I have available to experience everything this city, country, and region has to offer and I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t do this in Canada.

Canada has a ton to offer and I still haven’t seen even a fraction of the things I hope to see there, there are many things to do and see in the areas I have lived in with little or no cost, but why wasn’t I focused on making the most of my time or experience? I guess because it feels normal. When you stay in the same country or area, you fall into a pattern or routine, you do normal things, you have habits. You feel as though there is no rush because you have a lifetime to experience what you want and do all those things you never got around to yet.

This realization is giving me something to work towards. I will not wait for experiences like this placement to live my life to the fullest, I will live my life to the fullest every single day in every single town, city, country that I am fortunate enough to live in. I will experience things to the fullest and make the most of the time I have. If I’m willing to spend hours walking around Ha Noi because its beautiful, why didn’t I do that in Canada? I guess I got stuck in the routine of ‘home’ and found what boundaries I was comfortable with.

No more! Vietnam has taught me to experience things, explore, try something new and avoid routine and that is something I hope to never forget.

Originally posted here.

A Tale of Two Villages

Follow-up on a previous post

Chieng Khoang and Chieng Chung are located less than a kilometer apart within a 20 minute walk of Tuan Giao Town in Tuan Giao District, Dien Bien Province yet these two villages each have a unique story. But before I get into that, I’ll begin with a little bit of history from the area.

 Read more

Contraception is a Human Right

We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.

That is a quote from the researchers who are two years in to a five year study abortion – specifically the first scientific study which looks at what happens to women who have been denied abortions. This study has been following 956 women who sought abortions, 182 of which were denied. This study takes place in the USA but I believe much of the information can be extrapolated to other nations.

I find it fascinating that less than halfway into the study researchers are already able to debunk many of the common reasons why women are denied abortions and protestors push for pro-life national agendas. Firstly, abortion does not cause mental illness. Secondly, abortion does not cause drug use. Particularly when combined with the emotional distress of carrying an unwanted child to term. In fact, the study found that giving birth to an unwanted child caused more physical damage than an abortion: “There were no severe complications after abortion; after birth complications included seizure, fractured pelvis, infection and hemorrhage. We find no differences in chronic health conditions at 1 week or one year after seeking abortion.”

What I also found interesting was that only 11% of those who were denied abortions put the child up for adoption and that there are higher rates of putting children up for adoption among those with a history of drug abuse. While there are plenty of people who desperately want to adopt children, particularly from within their home country, adoption is still looked down upon. Many people are discriminated against if they put their child up for adoption, there is a stigma associated with this that makes many people choose to keep the child.

Also notable is that this week the United Nations declared contraception to be a human right. About time, right? Family Planning is universally acknowledged to be critical for development; spacing children apart by a minimum of 2 years improves their health, developmental capacity, brain function, in-utero nutrition, and improves the health of the mother and ease of her delivery. Additionally, 82% of unwanted pregnancies could be avoided simply by increasing access to information and services regarding contraception. Who needs access? Women and adolescents as

Thai Minority Women in Dien Bien, Vietnam discussing the importance of family planning and maternal health (November 8-9, 2012)

those are the target groups and the people who need to be able to have control and power over decisions regarding their own bodies. This is a huge step forward for international development and a wake-up call for so called ‘developed’ nations to improve the dissemination of information and services regarding contraception. It also should indicate a need to not discriminate against such services on the basis of religion, funding, or personal beliefs.

Take a step forward with the United Nations and protect the rights and freedoms of people around the world by supporting family planning, improving access to contraception information and services, reducing the stigma surrounding adoption and abortion, and ensuring that women people are never denied the ability to live out their basic rights.

What is governance?

I was at a workshop this morning that made me question my perspective. Participants kept discussing what governance was and asking what this word means, where did it come from, how is it different from management, etc. and it made me question what I knew about governance.

Growing up in Canada and always being interested in international development and human rights in general, I had never really questioned what governance was, I just accepted it. Governance was this word that was inherently good; it was this important thing to achieve. Now I find myself questioning what it means and whether using ideals like governance is positive or negative.

This meeting discussed the history of governance, how it emerged as a Western Ideology roughly 300 years ago, and how organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund popularized it in the mid 1990s. It discussed that because of this, governance may not be suitable for countries like Vietnam, or other eastern nations that do not share Western roots or ideology. Does this mean governance is bad?

The participants had no real understanding of the ‘governance’ I grew up understanding, instead many people simply believe that governance is equal to management and is a top down approach, which is understandable as it was popularized by some of the largest international organizations. They believe governance to be a method of enforcement rather than a method of participation and a tool to increase donor funds.

This is a huge failure on the part of international development; governance is intended to involve everyone, to ask questions, to look at the needs of the most vulnerable, and to give every citizen a voice. It is not in the scope of governance to impose beliefs, ideologies, or methods on others, governance is supposed to let people come to their own conclusions and made independent decisions on their actions while taking into account the effects it will have on others. It goes against the very nature of governance to ‘enforce’ governance.

Anyway, this meeting made me curious and made me question a lot of what I grew up accepting, I hope it encourages you to think critically about some of the theories and ideologies you know of.

I will be doing more research on this whole governance dilemma and will get back to you but in the mean time share your perspectives on these questions: What is governance? What is good governance?

What would you do?

I have some exciting news to share!

After going to an absolutely delicious Canadian Thanksgiving Supper at Don’s I found out that I won the raffle!

This means that I will soon be in possession of enough Air Asia Miles for a round trip to Hong Kong (or to contribute to other trip(s) ).

Comment and tell me what you would do with it. 

  1. Go to Hong Kong!
  2. Add it to a trip to Malaysia/Indonesia/Thailand/Southern Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia
  3. Or something else?

Sustainable Forest Governance

As you know (or should by now) I’m currently working in Vietnam at the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development, or SRD and am placed in Ha Noi.

What I didn’t know coming into this placement was that I’d be working primarily with forestry related things: forest governance, forest management, land-use law, land allocation problems, forest trade, forest licensing, forest monitoring, civil society’s participation in forest policy drafting, etc. However now that I’m here I’m finding that my role is involving lots of policy drafting, capacity building, and networking about forests.

In my first week at SRD, I attended a workshop on Capacity Building for Civil Society Organizations on FLEGT/VPA and REDD+. Its quite a mouthful. FLEGT is Forest, Law, Governance, and Trade and is legislation drafted by the EU for countries that they trade in timber with. VPA is the Voluntary Partnership Agreement which is a bilateral trade agreement between a country and the EU (in this case, Vietnam). REDD+ is one of the products of the Cancun Climate Change talks and stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. All of this can be coordinated to work together, but as the Vietnamese government is in the midst of developing all the policies, the local and international NGOs are working on trying to get input from civil society and figuring out the best way to do this.

If you are curious and want to know more, you can check out the condensed version of the report that I wrote here.

Entitlement and one bad xe om experience

Today I experienced something a little bit startling; it caught me off guard; it made me angry.

On my usual bus ride/walk to work I experience anywhere from 5-10 offers to use a ‘xe om’ or ‘motorcyle taxi’ and have perfected the response: smile, shake my head, say ‘khong’ or ‘no’, and wave my hands in the ‘enough’ motion. Today, in the last portion of my walk – and usually the portion with the least xe om offers – a man said xe om and gestured in the general direction of a motorbike. I responded in my usual manner and continued to walk by.

However it did not stop there. As I passed him – and stopped paying attention to what he was doing – he grabbed my arm, swinging me back and proceeded to try to drag me to his motorbike. Apparently saying ‘no’ politely did not suffice. After a few shouts that caught the attention of people around me (and there were many as it was rush hour) he let go and said a few things in Vietnamese to his friends that garnered a laugh.

Some people feel as though they are entitled to take or do what they want even if it requires the use of force, some people feel entitled to coerce others into following their will, often without guilt.

All I could think of was how frequently these things happen in pretty much every country around the world. Saying no is not enough, people are left with no choice but to fight for autonomy, independence, and rights – all of which should be guaranteed and in many cases are already granted through the law. Do not take your rights for granted, do not allow legislative changes or self-entitlement to take away your rights, do not become self-entitled and do anything to compromise the rights of others. Be respectful.

Liver…

I need to learn how to say ‘I don’t like liver” as I have been fed liver twice today from two different animals with no way to get out of it. Harder eating something you don’t like when people are watching you and waiting for you to say how delicious it is.

Just another day at work. . .

Watching UN delegates learn and then dance the chicken dance. In slow motion and fast forward. . .

Ha Noi Ha Noi Ha Noi

I have arrived in the beautiful city that is Ha Noi.

We got here late Monday night and took a really long cab ride into the city to our hotel. Which at night seems very different from the day. Ha Noi isn’t so much a network of streets but a network of alleys, and our hotel was on one of these. The alleys almost make up communities, each grouping has everything anyone could ever need and everyone is welcome to join.

Our first morning we walked to the WUSC office, which we originally thought was 10 minutes. 35 minutes later we arrived, disgustingly hot and sweaty and more than a little bit jet lagged. We were told to memorize the route because we would have to walk home alone and alone to the office after that point. Our orientation went fairly smoothly with no real hiccups. And no one got lost walking :)

I bought a SIM card and got my phone working with a Vietnamese number which may have been one of the most confusing experiences of my life.

We visited a family clinic in Ha Noi where we can get medical treatment, flu shots, etc. and got one of the most terrifying talks ever as well as what I think was the third or fourth talk telling us about sexual health and STDS (what do people think we’re doing here?) 

I had the opportunity to meet with two host families and choose the one I thought was best for me. When I went to visit the first one, I was ushered through a very fancy clothing store, then through a kitchen, then through a stunning garden until we were in a beautiful home. The bedroom is bigger than anything I have ever had both at home or at school. Needless to say, I fell in love with it and will be moving in today at 12. My host family will be about 3.5km to work and about 6km away from everyone else in the program. I’m hoping to get comfortable biking on the streets.. But we’ll see how that goes.

I start work on Monday and will be working on Climate Change. More information will follow when I learn more.

One week to go

With only one week left before I leave for Vietnam it seems only fitting that my plans would change. I am no longer going to Hue, instead I will be in Ha Noi. I’ll still be working for the same organization, but my job description has changed and I’m in a completely different city than I’ve spent the past 6 months researching and looking forward to. Did I mention I’m already packed for Hue?

Here is my job description be sure to comment and give me any tips or pointers as I have no experience in this field.

  • Assist with the development of project concept notes and proposals that support SRD Climate Change section’s short and long‑term strategy.
  • Assist with writing and editing website and newsletter articles which related to Climate Change forest management and environment fields.
  • Assist with writing and editing reports on Climate Change program/ projects.
  • Support ongoing Climate Change mainstreaming activities within SRD’s program.
  • Support the development, management and implementation of SRD’s Climate Change projects, including undertaking needs/vulnerability assessments, conducting baseline surveys etc as required.
  • Participate in other related activities of the organization and engage/liaise with partners on SRD’s behalf through climate change and FLEGT networks (as assigned).
  • Assist with organizing logistic and reporting of Climate Change department led workshops.

Visa Hiccup

There has been a hold-up in getting my visa for Vietnam. I’m one of three people who will hopefully receive their visa authorization five business days prior to our flight date. This means that while I’m leaving Timmins around the 26th, I will have to find a way to still apply for and get my visa from elsewhere in Ontario.

The problem with this is that the standard way to get a visa to Vietnam is to send in your application by mail, then once it arrives at the embassy (in Ottawa) it stays there for five business days, then is mailed back. So it’s looking like a road trip is in order, as well as the additional costs to expedite the process.

What is probably most frustrating with this experience is that I was not really included in the process at all. So I don’t know the work that went into it to get the visa authorization, I don’t know the process, I don’t know how hard (or not hard) people have worked to try to get this to happen. I just know that it hasn’t happened, may not happen, and its now the last minute. This isn’t for lack of trying, I have asked many times to have the process explained, or to be included, or for an update at the very least. I feel as though had I been included I wouldn’t be frustrated with this because I would actually be aware of what work had been done in order for things to happen on time.

If something happens and the authorization does not come in time, I will have to apply for a tourist visa (also in Ottawa, also at the last minute), then renew the visa every ninety days in Vietnam. Technically, the renewal can be denied.

Hopefully the authorization comes sooner and things are easier, and hopefully this is the only hiccup that will occur from now on. If the biggest problem I have is that I have to rush to get my visa in time, then the next eight months will be remarkably smooth.

Sincere apologies

A small update for everyone!

I’m currently writing the last academic papers of my undergraduate degree titled “Genocide: Perpetrated through Sexual Violence” and “Gender Mainstreaming in Structural Adjustment: The Forgotten Element”. I’ll share more on these later.

Once those are submitted I’ll be back in full force and excited to share some of what I learnt while writing them (particularly the one about genocide).

What’s interesting about my degree is that while this is my last academic term (which will officially end tonight at midnight), I still have eight months left of my degree. However those eight months will be spent in Vietnam working for the Center for Sustainable Rural Development.

I will be leaving Canada September 9th around noon, but I will be leaving home (aka Northern Ontario) near the end of August, so in the mean time if there is anything you’re interested in regarding gender issues, my placement, or anything that you think I’d find interesting, please share it with me and I’d be happy to read/write about it.

Hue Update

As I’ve been getting a little heavy with the social issues posts, I thought I’d share a little something I found amusing about Hue City, Vietnam. As this is where I’ll be living from September 2012 – April 2013, I try to find and follow any news about it and I came across this.

A bull was recently spotted running around near the runway of the Hue airport. No one knew where the bull came from or who it belonged to; this was the first time a bull was spotted in the area.

It resulted in the airport’s closure for the day, however the situation is now under control.