I faced a pretty major setback this week, so Im glad to be sitting in the office right now with only two hours keeping me from the weekend. On Wednesday, Sankar and I went to lunch with our boss, only to return and find all three of our laptops missing. We quickly realized it was not a joke. Before we knew it, we were waiting for government investigators to arrive and were being asked by all the PROdeMU employees if we were okay. Unfortunately, it seems that a young man walked confidently into PROdeMU past the TWO concierges and came upon a stroke of luck when he found three laptops sitting out in an unlocked office. Neither mine nor Sankars were backed up, and our boss lost a fancy Macbook, which undoubtedly was much more expensive to buy in Chile. We are not planning on recovering these; luckily, PROdeMU had two laptops to spare which we can use for work for the next month, and both my host mother and sister seem willing to share their laptops for the next few weeks. Happy 4th, for ya!
Probably the highlight of my week was our dinner party at Yesenias sisters friends apartment (lol already confusing, plus I still haven’t found the “apostrophe” on my Spanish laptop keyboard). I was very excited to visit Las Condes, an upper-middle-class neighborhood, because everyone pronounces it like “ooooh, Las Coooohndes!” A very late night Wednesday and no personal computer Thursday has made the rest of the week pretty frustrating, and I think the spacious, contemporary Las Condes apartment made me a little homesick.
While I basically sat pretending to work yesterday, today has been heartening because I really got started on a new project. (LUCKILY I turned in my completed database project like 2 hours before the office was robbed!!) For the next month (a bit less, yikes, Ill never finish) I will begin to compile a database of successful entrepreneurs/workers from PROdeMUs programs, so that the Communications department can easily identify success stories for its publications. I’m looking forward to working with new departments of PROdeMU and traveling several times to “el terreno” (worksites?) to observe PROdeMUs classes and speak with the women. If there’s time at the end, I hope to add personal profiles to PROdeMUs website that include words of advice or encouragement to other women starting businesses or looking for work, even if they aren’t PROdeMU participants and are simply surfing the web. From what Ive observed, empowerment of women is a primary focuses of PROdeMUs classes.
Last weekend in La Serena ended up being a lot of fun, although my tour through Elqui Valley on Saturday with Luis, Sarah, and Serena was definitely the highlight. The grapevines and mountains probably resemble Northern California. We stopped in several towns to peruse craft fairs and stroll through the central plaza, we ate a lunch cooked entirely with energy from solar panels, and we visited a pisco vineyard/farm/factors (omg what is it called?). As you’ve probably figured out after four weeks of blog posts, Chileans are very proud of pisco, a brandy distilled from grapes.
After work, I hope to catch the sunset at Cerro San Christobal before our weekly reunion at Marlens house. I don’t have weekend plans yet, but two Duke 21st birthdays (shoutout Justine and Nicky) and also my host familys twin cousins 21st birthdays are all on the radar screen. Some ladies in the office gave me suggestions of places to see in Santiago while we were eating lunch today, so Ill probably venture off to a few of those as well, like el Museo Historico Nacional or el Museo de la Memoria.