The Foreign Service Journal, April 2012

A P R I L 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 29 F OCUS ON FS F AMI LY M EMBER E MPLOYMENT L OCAL E MPLOYMENT IN M OZAMBIQUE AND B RAZIL y family and I are beginning to plan our next Foreign Service assignment, now just a few months away, and are getting excited. Speaking as a foreign-born spouse who is currently raising three third-culture children, moving every couple of years has become more intriguing than challenging. This is par- ticularly true of my employment experiences as an Eligi- ble Family Member. In 2006, our family headed to Mozambique for a two- year assignment. I initially thought I was leaving behind my previous career as a trained scientist and researcher. Little did I know that the large U.S. embassy in Maputo, which encompasses the U.S. Agency for International De- velopment and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as several other federal agencies and U.S. and international nongovernmental organizations, would be able to fulfill my working ambitions. I worked for a USAID-contractor NGO, funded under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, as the coordinator for HIV/AIDS laboratory logistics. In that ca- pacity, I dealt with local government agencies, interna- tional partners, volunteer programs and the national warehousing/distribution systems for HIV/AIDS testing and prevention. Because the job was to be performed at an organiza- tion outside the U.S. mission, I had to obtain an authori- zation to work under the local labor laws. Fortunately, that was not a problem, thanks to our bilateral work agreement and the great work of Embassy Maputo’s human resources department, for which I am very grateful. As a bonus, my success opened doors for other EFMs to apply for jobs outside the mission: one went to work for World Vision, another PEPFAR partner organization. Admittedly, it helped that I was a naturalized Ameri- can citizen who had been born and raised in Brazil, and could furnish all my school and college transcripts in Por- tuguese, Mozambique’s national language. My fluency was a real asset on the job, as well, especially when it came to travel to remote areas, where I supervised health centers and trained health care personnel. All in all, it was an extremely positive experience, with unconditional support from all my American counterparts, supervisors I S IT POSSIBLE TO LIVE AND WORK OVERSEAS , PURSUING A PROFESSIONAL CAREER , DESPITE FREQUENT MOVES ? A BSOLUTELY ! B Y R AQUEL L IMA M IRANDA Raquel Lima Miranda is the spouse of FSO Leonel Mi- randa, a political-economic officer in Recife. An author and reviewer for scientific journals, she currently teaches at the American School of Recife. The Mirandas have a blog, 3rd Culture Life of a Globetrotting Family of 5 ( T his summer, they will begin a new assignment in La Paz.