30 March 2009

Word from Kilcranny (finally)

After the Irish/N. Irish local retreat this past weekend I decided I would buckle down and finally submit something for the blog.

So, here is a photo I took in February this year. These are a cluster of crocus coming up under a tree overlooking Kilcranny. The tree is situated by a several run-down buildings including a potting shed which was once used by the lady who owns the farm land surrounding Kilcranny.

I've been told this area was a beautiful garden several years ago- the woman tended it all the time and the paths were completely weed-free. As it is wild now, I never would have guessed there were paths (least of all weed-free). This is one of my favorite places at Kilcranny- it felt like I was discovering some sort of secret garden the first time I explored around this area

Another favorite spot of mine is a grouping of trees growing by the beginning of Cranagh Road. I have a really vivid memory of them as Pauline (my Vol. Coord.) drove me (and Heather too) home from the airport- the night I arrived in NI. they are on a small rise, so, as you approach them they are the only thing you see on the horizon in front of you. I lost my chance to take a good photo of them last year before the buds came- I especially like them in the winter. I love their well-defined shape, you can tell how the wind has shaped them just a bit. The photo looks a bit hazy, but I'm a bit unsure how to use this program...... or should I say programme??

It's getting late, and I am planning a baking adventure- bye!

16 March 2009

Volunteering in The Netherlands

After Stan did his posting on Friday, I thought it was high time I put up the new fundraising position open at his project. Here goes:

1112. Alkmaar, Netherlands
The International Secretariat of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) seeks (A) a Communications Officer for correspondence, printed/electronic publications, and general administration in the International Secretariat, and (B) a Fundraiser for developing and implementing a fundraising strategy in close cooperation with the fellowship's branches worldwide. Duties for A include maintaining database/server, processing electronic/printed materials, research/news writing, updating website, grant proposal writing, computer work, and proofreading. Duties for B include contacting and visiting member branches for initiatives, research and networking with donors, building coalitions and designing/compiling proposals, and reconnecting the branches within the fellowship. Other duties reflect the skills of the volunteer(s) and the needs of the organization (note: this description is not definitive). Requirements: Commitment to peace and non-violence, self starter, college degree, organizational skills and ability to set priorities, computer knowledge, writing/editing skills, willingness to do varied tasks, second language helpful (especially French and Dutch). Prior experience for fundraising position would be advantageous, but not required. Communications Officer position: Available summer or fall 2010. www.ifor.org

13 March 2009

Spring time in Alkmaar?

Hi everyone,

Hope you are enjoying a little spring time weather, and that some of you will be getting together soon for Easter. We have been busy here this month at IFOR with sending my colleague Isabelle to meet with the President of Liberia to work on women's rights issues sponsored by the Dutch Government (I just put Isabelle's article up this morning on our website).

You may remember that as publications editor I do a quarterly "eZine," the organization's flagship communiqué. I solicit articles from all over the world, and then do a lot of editing, ha! Each issue of IFOR in Action focuses on a different region of the world, and this time it was The Americas. I'm mentioning this because I received a few articles on our recent US election and Barack Obama, that I found not to be what I expected.

To do this work, publications, editing and websites, I need the most advanced computer we have at IFOR. I've made some complaints lately about the computer I had, so yesterday they bought me a new, much more powerful pc and new software. I would have say they are treating me fairly well here in the Netherlands...

But then again, being a BVSer, I try not to ask for much, ha!

Wish you a wonderful weekend!


11 March 2009

Volunteering in the Balkans

We have one new volunteer opportunity in Bosnia-Herzegovina - in Prijedor - see below, and might have another one in Novi Sad, Serbia, in the fall. For further information, please contact me at brethrenservice@worldcom.ch.

1646. Prijedor, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bread of Life, a Christian humanitarian association founded by Protestant churches in Serbia, with an office in northwest Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1996, originally provided food and material aid for the needs of refugees, displaced, and marginalized persons, and is now developing programs to promote income-generation, long-term employment and self-sustainability of its beneficiaries. Some of these programs include a trial project of interest-free loans and other support to dairy farmers; an employment project of loans and support to young people involved in agriculture and crafts in a rural area; low-cost English and computer courses at an education center; annual distribution of Christmas presents to the area schoolchildren; and capacity building of the organization. Bread of Life seeks a co-worker/assistant for income-generation projects. Duties include assisting the director and program manager with writing and implementing income-generating projects, assistance with fund-raising for new projects, contact with new/existing donor organizations, and assistance with creation/development of new/existing capacities of the organization. Requirements preferred: experience in the NGO sector in a developing country or Eastern Europe; ability to adjust easily to new environments and cultures; expertise in fields of economics or agriculture. Willingness to learn the local language. www.breadoflife.rs.ba

09 March 2009

A day in the life of a BVSer

From BVS Volunteer Heather at Quaker Cottage in Belfast, N. Ireland...

(she's the second one from the right in this photo, taken during a trip to Donegal with other BVSers volunteering in N. Ireland.)

"What I really love about volunteering at Quaker Cottage is that no two days are quite the same, and that the work is varied.
You could peel potatoes, ice a birthday cake, push a pram, change a nappy, play in the sand box, drive a mini-bus, sing silly songs, play a game of Snap, vacuum and mop the afterschools room, and take out the garbage all in the same day. With that said, none of those tasks alone is mentally exhausting work (quite the contrary really), but I really do find working at Quakers to be quite stimulating, particularly when trying to figure out how to “turn” a negative situation around with children or just thinking about how to encourage children’s overall development (cognitive, social, emotional, and communication) within the context of what we do in the playroom every day. And I think that Ann and Grant are so full of wisdom, and Sharon and Phil have such a great way of interacting with the children, that there is a lot to be learned in a year at Quaker Cottage through observation and conversation with them."