My life has been full of strife and struggles literally, I don’t think I have ever been handed out anything in my life, I had to work hard and persevere in order to get to where I am now, you want Proof? keep reading. Originally I’m a nurse with two-plus years of experience but even before nursing I used to have many different jobs, security guard in a mall, part-time school teacher and a plethora of very short jobs, and then I found my “true calling” when I was working in Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan with a local medical clinic, which I loved and still reminisce about it to this day.
It’s true that nursing is humanitarian in and of itself yet I wanted to try something different, I had other skills that I wanted to exploit, my first international organization was International Relief and Development, I started out as a social worker and finished as a health field coordinator, yet I was always aspiring for more, I’m greedy that way, when it comes to gaining skills and knowledge it’s never enough for me. So I started searching for other opportunities that can quench my thirst for learning and I realized the more senior jobs I get and climb up the ladder, simply put the more skills and knowledge I will gain.
I moved quite a bit in seven years between organizations, started with International Relief and Development to International Rescue Committee then to International Catholic Migration Commission and on to Development Alternatives Inc. and Global Communities until I returned to International Rescue Committee again, remember what I said about working hard and persevere, here is your proof. in my 7 years of experience I had to work everything but nursing, case management, community outreach, operations, and logistics and then marketing and I started to gain more experience and skills in program management. Until and despite all odds, I finally reached my goal and became a program manager.
Unfortunately, nonprofit organizations in Jordan don’t provide sufficient training upon onboarding even during the lifetime of the project, you sign your contract one day and sent to the field the next one, and here where my best friend “Google” comes in, I have always been telling my staff and friends and basically everybody I know to read, since your organization is not going to give you the knowledge you seek then you might as well get it yourself. If there is anything you would like to know more about Just google it and read for yourself otherwise it will not stick in your mind and you will surely forget it.
This Is How It All Began
Back in 2016, I was searching on google for a short term capacity building opportunities, I have always been striving to improve my managerial skills one way or another, either by self-learning or enrolling in training courses. Luckily I stumbled upon a website called “AtlasCorps.org”, BUT as I began reading I was telling myself this is just too good to be true, what’s the catch? Because if anyone told me back then that I would be getting free tickets to the United States and work with one of the biggest organizations in the world and get “paid” for it, I would accuse them of witchcraft and necromancy.
But thank goodness I kept on reading and went through the extremely rigorous and thorough process because if I had given up even for a moment, I wouldn’t be here right now blogging about my experience.
I Almost Threw the Towel
So for almost three years I have been waiting and waiting. I know the phrase everything happens for a reason yet still three years is a long time, and every four months or so I would be receiving an email from atlas corps apologizing for not being able to find me a host organization, yet that did not deter me, it’s true that I interviewed for a host organization back in 2017 yet I knew from the beginning it wasn’t the one for me, I just had a feeling about it, and despite all of this I was confident that my time will come, so I kept confirming my availability and updating my atlas corps application along the way.
It Must Be Destiny
And that all changed on April 2019, atlas corps sent me an email that I have an interview with what would be later my host organization (ABT Associates) which I didn’t see because I was on a business trip with minimal internet access, I saw the email two days later but thank goodness atlas corps and ABT Associates were very kind to reschedule the interview, I finished the interview and I knew I was going to be selected because it was one of those times when you have a good feeling in your gut and quite simply I just knew.
So Far So Good
So here I am, I’m about to complete my first month with my host organization and I LOVE it here, hands down the coolest organization I had the pleasure to work with, it’s always amazing to work with such a professional, highly intellectual and genuinely kind people, and I will make sure to take advantage of every single minute because that’s why I’m here, to learn and improve myself professionally.
Currently, I’m supporting my awesome team in the Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS ) Plus project for the MiddleEast region (MER) where I will be Drafting and producing technical products and deliverables, present technical updates and learnings, of course, I will also be working on other countries and regions and possibly on entirely different projects as well. needless to say that I will be working and learning from the best and improve my skills in program management, strategic planning, M&E, event planning, and operations to name a few.
Frankly speaking, my first week with my host organization was amazing and it continues to be amazing, but in the beginning I was very stressed about making a good impression and I was doubting myself whether I’m up to the challenge or not, but meeting the lovely team and my supervisor made me realize that everything is going to be alright because I’m surrounded with amazing people who will undoubtedly extend me a helping hand if I ever needed one.
Personally, though, it’s hard, it turned out that “cultural shock” is actually a real thing, and when I remember that I had to leave everything I had behind me I feel a bit down and on top of that traveling thousands of miles for the very first time in my 33 years of existence on this earth, it’s challenging and difficult alright, homesickness hasn’t hit me yet, I reckon it will hit me hard in a couple of months, therefore I have to concentrate and remind myself of why I’m here and for whom I’m doing this for.
I would like to think that everything I have done in my entire life has led me here and it’s all because of my hard work and sleepless nights but whether that statement is true or not, I can’t deny the existence of both divine intervention and luck. that being said I’m extremely lucky and thankful for this amazing opportunity and so thank you Atlas Corps and thank you ABT Associates.