Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Que Pasa?

Things are going smoothly here in Santiago. Its nice to have a routine again after 7 weeks travelling and to feel mildly productive. There are about 10 interns at the Amnesty Office, we come from various parts (England, France, Hungary, Poland, the US) and generally get on pretty well. We're all working on seperate 'teams' doing different types of work. I'm on the Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) team focusing on businesses and Human Rights aspects. At the moment I'm working on a blog about corporate social responsability that is an out growth of the Amnesty site. I'm also managing the news part of the Amnesty Ecuador website, which basically entails looking through the daily Ecuadorian newspapers and posting any relevant storys on Amnesty's site. Another project I'm involved with is the Bicentenary Human Rights Agenda, a document submitted to the Chilean government last month outlining AI's goals and concerns for Human Rights; its meant as a bench mark to see how much the government can accomplish before the 200th anniversary of independence in 2011. Apart from those 3 'teams' I´m also keeping tabs on the news from Bolivia (where there isnt a central amnesty office) as well as news about Pascua Lama (a mining project that threatens the water supply in a few valleys in northern chile) as well as managing the Amnesty library. Sounds like a lot, but its not really, at least at the moment...Febuary is vaccation month in Chile and they say the quietest time of the year for NGOs. Last week we presented the Chilean premier of 'Blood Diamond' to raise awareness about the international arms trade and the role of the diamond trade in conflict, we filled the movie theatre, but I think a few people missed the point based on some racist comments I heard coming out. I thought the movie itself was alright but a bit too 'hollywood'...

Outside of work Santiago is a pretty good city, although I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of the country more (especially now my trip down to Patagonia is booked for March). Apart from my trip down from the north and 2 visits to Valparaiso I havent seen too much of Chile yet; I'm planning on getting out of Santiago for the next couple of weekends though. The city is small ennough to walk around pretty easily although the combination of the traffic and the heat means I take advantage of the busses quite frequently. I've made friends with a group of Chilean guys whose asado (bbq) I went to a couple of weekends ago. They're all pretty funny but really stereotypically machista manly of them loves giving me unsolicited advice on how to 'conquer' Chilean women. His latest tip: come on really strong, then ignore them, then come on strong, then ignore them, repeat...I met them because one of them (Fenya, short for Fernando) called my friend's roomate, he wasnt home, Fenya invited my friend the asado instead, and she asked me to come along with her. They all have pretty good nicknames: Felix is 'el gato' the cat, one goes by Guilof (dont ask me why) and the others include Pepe and Tito.

The football season is just starting up (in ended the day I arrived in Santiago, all of 6 weeks ago...they just cant live without it) and there are 4 or 5 big teams to choose from here in Santiago. Mine looks like it will be Universidad de Chile, mostly because I've been told you have the least chance of getting robbed at their games. Colo Colo is the other big Chilean team, and they've got upcoming games against River Plate of Argentina and my adopted Ecuadorian team Liga de im going to try to head to the stadium (about 15 minutes south of my house) for those. Surprisingly people dont really play all that much football here, way less than the other South American countries I've seen. Perhaps thats why the Chilean national team isnt all that good?

All in all, things are going well, settling into a routine, enjoying the company of the people at work and some random dudes...and trying not to think to much about what happens after this...fingers crossed for grad school is much as i've thought of for post Chile living....

Any advice?
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