October 10, 2002 - University of Arkansas: Melissa Bridges makes difference in Honduras

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: The Peace Corps in Honduras: October 10, 2002 - University of Arkansas: Melissa Bridges makes difference in Honduras

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, June 21, 2003 - 8:13 am: Edit Post

Melissa Bridges makes difference in Honduras

Melissa Bridges makes difference in Honduras

Alumna makes difference in Honduras

Melissa Bridges graduated from from the U of A with an MPA (1999). She began an internship with the City of Little Rock and worked in several different positions over the course of her four year stint there. She served as the Administrative Coordinator for the Mayor and Board of Director’s Office; also as the Assistant Director of the Mayor’s Youth Council; and finally as the Mayoral Assistant before leaving the City in November 2000 to prepare for her to Honduras assignment as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer she thought her understanding of municipal government would work as a good foundation and she was accepted into the Honduras in the Municipal Development Program. I have completed nineteen months of my service and am contemplating extending a third year to work as a Volunteer Coordinator in the Peace Corps Honduras headquarters in the capitol. She recently took the foreign service examination to possibly continue her work in some international development capacity or with USAID.

Here are a few typical days in August 2000:
"August was a month filled with travel for me. I was asked to give a presentation to the newest class of Municipal Development Peace Corps trainees at the first of the month at the PC school outside the capital city. I was supposed to be giving the presentation with another Volunteer from my group but he didn't show, so I had to stretch a two-hour talk into four hours. It all worked out and I don't think that I bored them too much.

I spent the following week trying to track down one of my fellow Volunteers to come to Santa Cruz to help me give a training on building brick ovens that burn less wood and produce less smoke, since my Honduran counterpart had dropped the ball on getting a speaker lined up for our scheduled training with the Neighborhood Associations (patronatos). Let me tell you when you only have one phone in the entire community and they have to go track down the person to tell them the have a phone call, it is tough. Thankfully, my friend graciously agreed to come help me and he was to call and confirm before he headed this way. Three days later, my Honduran counterpart told me that the trainings had been cancelled due to low participation. This meant that I
would have to try to get hold of my friend to tell him not to bother riding on a bus for NINE hours to come help me. I had no luck and went on the assumption that since he did not call me back to confirm his arrival that he was not coming and I made plans to
leave for the weekend before having to head back to the capital city to give another presentation at the Peace Corps school.

After spending a peaceful, although mud-filled, weekend in La Esperanza visiting Oscar (her fiancé) and my host family there I was back on the road to Teguc (the capital). I tried to take care of some work while I was in Teguc but I was not having luck, nor was anyone available to help me. Sometimes I feel like the Volunteers are just thrown out in the wilderness to find their own way out and hopefully do something productive along the way. Anyway, I gave the presentation and headed back to Santa Cruz ....."

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Story Source: University of Arkansas

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Honduras



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