Engineer, not for long...

(likely some cheeky person will write a comment to the extent of "once and engineer, always an engineer :)

I was going to include this in the previous post, but I thought that one was long enough and complete.

As I’ve finished up my report, the summation of my activities here at AKRSP, I’ve started to realize what it is that really thrills me, what I could spend a lot more time doing and studying. It is exactly this, what I’m writing about and what AKRSP is, at this moment in time, trying to figure out: how does development move forward? In the case of AKRSP, the initial push for grass-roots self-development and social organization has been a resounding success. But what next? What’s the next economic model (John Clarke)? How do equity and community equilibrium and co-operation move beyond donor-subsidy (ultimately) to a self-sustaining model for future development? This is a great question. It’s progressive, cutting-edge, a question that more development organizations should be asking. And I, an inexperienced, junior engineer-in-training get to be thrown into the thick of it for a fleeting minute – enough time to know that I want more.

I thought my dream job was working directly with micro/mini hydels, designing and implementing and the like. But it’s not – this is, maybe not with AKRSP or in Gilgit, but somewhere out here, asking the tough questions and watching things work themselves out on the ground and working with donor organizations, governments and community organizations to take the next step.

Pure engineering is vitally important, not only to our society in Canada, but in the development sector as well, but it’s not for me. I’ll leave it to the people who are actually good at maths and know how to solve partial differential equations and perform Laplace transforms. I’m thankful I did my degree in Mechanical Engineering and, by God’s grace, got through it with reasonable grades, but there are things that I’m much better at, subjects that excite me enough to motivate me to put in the long hours and become proficient at. That said, a lot of the soft skills I learned over the course of my education came into play during my assignment with AKRSP – an engineering education gives a person a keen ability to critically analyze problems and synthesize diverse data and, if you pay attention in Tech Comm, the ability to put all of that together into a decent report.

NB. For those of you at New Flyer who are reading this (I see a hit from Transcona every once in a while) don’t worry…I’ll be back in January-call this development gig a hobby :)

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think I’ve found something that I’m reasonably good at and very excited about. We’ll see what happens from here on. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a bad review on my report and tell another story.

And as an aside, I look at the possibility of doing a master’s in English on post-colonial literature through the University of Guelph’s Collaborative International Development Studies department and my mouth waters. But, only a few people in this world seem to be able to do everything at once, and I’m not one of them.

PS. The Northern Areas Power and Water Development people are way ahead of the times, they offer a wide variety of products to electricity consumers in the Northern Ares. For example, they just switched to the 5-volt special...oh! now it's back to 220V, I guess that was just a demo...you probably have to give them your credit card number to order the 5V package if you want to keep it.

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