My name

IMG_5989Camila LeMaster Esquivel

Where I consider home

The city of Calama, located in northern Chile.

My current occupation

I am one of the fellows with the American India Foundation; I will be based in Kerala where I will be working with Profugo. My work will primarily focus on children’s services and Profugo’s health and wellness initiatives. As a team we will also work on capacity building.

My interests

I love to read and travel. I also enjoy baking and taking long walks.

What I would do if I had the day off

Read a book (I love Isabel Allende), I would bake something and I would catch up with friends and family. I also enjoy to do some crafts and watch movies on my days off.

My favorite ‘bad’ food

Brownies with vanilla ice cream, and if Im in Chile I love to eat “berlines” which is a pastry that you can normally find as a street food (especially when you go to the beach).

Why I am going to Wayanad, India

I am very passionate about International development and I see this as an opportunity to learn from the work of Profugo and contribute with the work of their current and future projects. I have been looking for an opportunity to work in India and I have never been to South India, thus this is a new challenge that is in line with my career interests and values.

I graduated with a MA in International Development Studies from Ohio University this year and I was looking for an opportunity to work in a new setting. As a development practitioner is important to challenge your comfort zone while ensuring that your skills are applicable to the work that you are assigned to do. When I found the fellowship with the American India Foundation I knew that I had found a program that would give me the experience that I need as a young professional. When I researched the work of Profugo, which is my host organization, I immediately knew it was a perfect fit as their mission and vision are in line with my interests and the focus of my work experience and studies.

How I hope to grow during my time in India

I finished my education just a month ago and its been 6 years of a lot of academic work so I am living a time of transitions and many life changes. Professionally I would like to get a feel of what the field of development really entails when you partner with community. I would also like to learn about this corner of India which I am sure is as rich in culture and traditions as other places I have visited. As many past Profugo fellows I also hope to learn some of the local language and perhaps even improve my cooking skills!

Personally I will be living away from my family and friends for the first time for such an extended period of time. I would like to grow and make my family proud given that they have supported my career choices and this is the first time that I go far away from them to follow my passion.

My fears surrounding my service in India

Although I have been in India twice before I have 3 main fears. First, not being able to fulfill the expectations of the organization given that 10 months of service can go very fast. Second that my assigned projects will not have the impact that we expect or that they will not get a good reception from the community (although all of these are challenges that would leave a very important lesson and would help me work more effectively). Finally, I don’t envision any negative thought because I don’t like to create expectations before I go to a new place, however deep inside I fear that I may not be able to adapt to the new environment. Nevertheless I am traveling with enthusiasm and energy to give my best and not focus on the small challenges too much.

The three things that I must bring to India are

My laptop so I can write home, mate (south American herbal tea which increases my productivity and gives me comfort), and lotion for mosquito bites.

If I could have an Indian name, it would be

Nila or Divya

My message to Profugo supporters

Thank you for taking the time to read about the work of Profugo. This organization is dedicated to provide communities with access to tools and resources that enable them to build a better quality of life. Your support is helping us develop new initiatives that meet the needs and interests of the community as Profugo’s impact grows every year. Your support is needed as the work of the Center of Development aspires to benefit more and more families in the area. Your support makes a strong impact and is helping us implement and create access to projects that are sustainable and designed for the community we serve.