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Self-recollection on the ferry from Mentawai

Indonesia, November 21, 2010

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November 16 marked my one-year service anniversary with Mercy Corps West Sumatra. I realized this fact upon the ferry that I rode in with four other members of the Indonesia Response Team (IRT), as we docked in Bungus Port, Padang after a 15-hour journey from Sikakap, where we've based our emergency response for the tsunami-stricken Mentawai Islands.

It has been a challenging year for me, as a Communications and Monitoring-Evaluation Officer here. Lucky I always have the fullest support from the rest of the team. Over the course of the year, we have gone from eight programs, down to five programs, then two programs before revving up with new programs for the devastated Mentawai Islands.

When I arrived, Mercy Corps West Sumatra worked in two districts that are vulnerable to disaster: Padang Pariaman and Pesisir Selatan. Earlier this year, we added Padang City and Agam District. This month, after disaster struck, Mentawai Islands joined the list.

With so much happening here, I am fortunate for always been presented with endless opportunities to learn something new and unlock hidden potential, both in me and my colleagues.

My mentor said this to me before I decided to take this post in West Sumatra: ”If you do not challenge yourself, how will you develop your capacity? Do not feel too comfortable with what you have now, always be thirsty for new opportunities!”

I am glad I took her advice and came here. It’s only been 12 months and I’ve signed up for another year, ready for new challenges as well as new learning opportunities.