Being greeted with a kiss on the cheek rather than a handshake in the work place is something that I’m going to need some getting used to. But it shouldn’t be too hard it’s a custom I actually really like; it’ll just take a few days.
Everyone I have met so far at TECHO has been nothing less than kind and genuine. My supervisor welcomed me with open arms as he gave me a tour of the office and explained all that the central office does with the organization. The central office is the background, the behind the scenes, that make up the backbone of TECHO. TECHO was founded in Chile and later expanded to now cover almost all of Latin America, building houses for families in need. But the central office still remains in Santiago, Chile.
The office is essentially the center where all the magic happens. With many different teams, together they are what make TECHO a successful organization. There are many different subgroups each with their own purpose and are of focus, the engineers and the architects, the communications department, the education and work team, the Area Social de Proyectos (in which I will be working) as well as others. Simply put, these teams are the liaisons between the communities and the many volunteers that work to build and improve the housing facilities for families. The office is a critical component that functions year round to make the magic happen.
After only spending a few hours in the office I can already tell that the vibe is very relaxed and marvelously positive. Everyone is very nice, open and enthusiastic and, from a first impression, seems to love what they do. What’s interesting and unique about TECHO is that it’s an organization that is made up of solely youth. TECHO aims to work with volunteers who are 28 years old and younger and this approach also seems to be prevalent in the central office. I didn’t see a single person that looked above the age of 30, except maybe the custodian and the gatekeeper. This characteristic gives the office a very distinct vibe: age and the fact that everyone who works for TECHO values the possibility of change and movement forward toward overcoming poverty in their country. These commonalities truly make this organization unique. I look forward to the next month and half here learning more about the inner workings, approaches as well as the many successes of TECHO.