My official title is Visiting Researcher and I am working in the Decision And Policy Analysis (DAPA) department in the Climate Change And Food Security (CCAFS) division on long-term adaptation to climate change, more specifically on climate smart agriculture. This is part of the wider international research community of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). I am very excited to be working with an organisation that has such an international reach and influence on policy. It looks like I am going to be coordinating a project that CCAFS is undertaking with USAID, but I don't know too much about it yet. It sounds like a lot of responsibility but I am excited to take it on.
Apart from the very long working day of 12 hours, including a long commute of 1.5 hours each way, my first day went really well. After an induction with HR, I finally met my boss who is lovely. She is half French too so we communicate in several languages. She took me to an outside café to have a chat for a couple of hours and she bought me an avena (oat drink) that comes in a giant yoghurt pot, so I wasn't sure how to drink it. I didn't want to tip it all over my face in my first meeting, but I managed to stay clean, somehow! The atmosphere is pretty relaxed and they seem to trust their employees a lot to get on with it on their own time and are not constantly monitoring them. Someone near my office even takes his little dog to work every day!
There are people from all around the world working there and my office neighbour (I get my very own office...!) is from Uganda. The grounds of CIAT are in between Cali and Palmira and are in the middle of the countryside so it is beautiful and calm. The only downside to being in the countryside is that there are so many insects there! I was being eaten alive by mosquitos and had to keep interrupting the chat to reapply repellent! After a while, a few wild dogs rocked up to join in the chat too. My mum thinks I am working on a farm, and it seems I pretty much am! I will take some photos soon and put them up.