Friday, 28 June 2013

Behind the Scenes: What a Development Practitioner needs to start working

By Alejandro Dominguez-Suburbie, 2nd year MDP Student

Something that I always find amazing, and I have mixed feelings for, are logistics. I love arriving in a new place and start getting things done, but sometimes those little things can go really smoothly and be easy or become very complicated. In the end I always laugh about it, but in the moment you just want to hit the wall with your head.

I could write a whole story for each of our adventures, however, I will just mention things that were smooth and easy to start and those that were just a little bit painful. To gain a better understanding I will list things from easy to complicated. Each of these might change from case to case, however in our case this is the way we felt it was.

  1. Getting cellphone lines (in less than an hour). 
  2. Transportation: The public transportation infrastructure is good, although it takes a lot of time to cross the city (2 or more hrs approx.). In Xochimilco we can get out of our house and hop into a Bicycle Cab that takes you to the Light Train Station, that takes you to the subway, and finally you can use, if you needed, the Rapid Bus Transit system. Something we haven’t found are good maps, not touristic ones.
  3. Food: At every corner, fresh and good quality food is found, although getting access to a decent Walmart is hard.
  4. Banking: Having access to ATM’s and banks is something easy. However it has been difficult to do transfers between Canadian and Mexican accounts. Although, both of my accounts are Scotiabank there is no easy and cost-free way to do transfers.
  5. Accommodation: (it took two weeks). This one is hard to say, because it is difficult, almost impossible to find a place without a one-year contract. Once we found the place, that was good but needed some work and cleaning. We spent one more week cleaning and bringing our things to the house.
  6. Internet: First, in the area we are we couldn't find any rocket sticks, there is no demand for these. This area in Mexico City is not a priority area for Telcel, Movistar, or Iusacell, the main mobile companies in Mexico. This is why the service we get here is really bad.
  7.  Water: The water supply system in Mexico City has lots of problems; one of the main ones is the leakage. In our house, we have to be very resourceful with the water and how do we use it. The water tank in the roof usually gets full during the night, but you never know when you will be short. Besides this we need to buy bottles with drinkable water from various companies (Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and others), because the tap water is “not safe.”

Getting around, cleaning, negotiating, patience, camping, are some skills that we as MDP students didn't learn in the classroom, however we are learning in the practicum. All these are skills that we definitely will use and develop as we work in the development area.

Lowering the fridge from a 3 story roof.

No comments:

Post a Comment