Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

International Opportunity at Opportunity International

Opportunity International (Australia) logo

Getting déjà vu again... Way back in September, when I’d been in Belize for two weeks, I remember writing on here that to keep the blog manageable I’d have to leave out big chunks of what I’d been doing. My first two weeks in Sydney now feel much the same.

So I’ll start with the big news. I didn’t want to say too much about my job hunting last week for fear of jinxing myself. No need to be superstitious now as I’ve actually started work…

I had an interview on Thursday with Opportunity International (Australia). Opportunity International is working to make poverty history by providing microfinance (ie loans, savings, and insurance) to poor people in the developing world.

One of the biggest obstacles facing those who want to get themselves out of poverty is a lack of access to finance. Credit, insurance and even savings accounts are often simply not available to the poorest people because of red-tape, weak financial institutions and a reluctance on the part of large banks to expend effort for the small sums of money involved. Often the only options open to poor people are credit from loan-sharks or saving by hiding money under the bed or in a hole in the ground. Without affordable credit or secure savings, it can be very difficult to make the sort of investment and savings decisions needed to run even the simplest of businesses.

Opportunity International have been working for 35 years in countries such as Ghana, India, Indonesia and The Philippines, providing finance, training and business advice. I’ll be working for Opportunity International for 3 months both as an advisor on economic issues, and as a report writer/editor on India, to help with an ambitious expansion plan that OI have over there.

Other big news is that I’m now 29 again, it having been my birthday on Saturday. Big thanks to Chris and Caroline for organising dinner, a cake and a night out I can barely remember.

(Mmmmm, chocolate cake. My favourite)

Thanks for all the cards, messages and lovely photo from Belize!

Went to the beach on Sunday with Roland, Lizzie and Max. Appreciated the candle, though not convinced it was the only one in the shop…

So, erm... time to start work again. Except that I'm off to Tasmania for a week from Friday. Have to have a healthy work/life balance after all...


Graeme said...

29 again? Errr...
Actually, (and this is really going to depress you), you are now a mere four months away from your third-of-a-century-day (33.333etc)
Or statistically if you live in the greater Glasgow area, you are now Middle-age!
Good luck in the new job!

Calum said...

Third-of-a-century day. Excellent! That gives me something else to celebrate.
I reckon the big day is the 12th of June. If anyone would care to join me for chocolate cake and beer, I shall be going out on the razz in Nairobi.

Globesy said...


Many happy returns. Congratulations on the new job - are you off to live with an authentic Australian family....I look forward to seeing "the new Scottish lodger" turning up in Neighbours.

As for the 12th of June in Nairobi..

Calum said...

I'm more of a Home and Away man myself...

Chris/Caroline won't be an authentic Australian family until they give up their love for Midsommer Murders... (on DVD!!)