Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Third Thing I Miss the Most

Living in Mtwara can get a bit lonely, and thus, the two things I miss the most are

1. Family
2. Friends

in that order.  Take that friends!  I love you mommy, daddy, and big brother.  The third thing i miss the most is:

3. Intellectual vigor.

I have had the honor to attend Macalester College with some of the brightest minds.  The friends and professors that I have interacted with always challenged me to think deeper and develop my mind further.  A pensive thought that began as a tadpole in my brain grew into an awesome multicolored dragon once it was bounced off a couple of brilliant minds. 

Prior to coming to Mtwara, I had certain visions that such vibrant cranial activity would continue, and packed books like Orientalism and Seeing Like a State.  Unfortunately, whether in the Saba Saba office, or with encounters with other volunteers, I was not able to have such lively discussion that I expected.  Once I used the maze-like streets of Stonetown to explain an idea from Seeing Like a State, but received no significant reply.  It's a shame, because I find that the volunteer experience poses many questions about identity and development in a globalizing world.  I miss the intellectual vigor so much that I could put it above the fourth thing I miss the most:

4. Pho.

I could confidently say that I am enjoying my time here, and it is both extremely rewarding and challenging.  But because of the four things that I miss the most, it is not perfect and rosy one could imagine.

2 comments:

Narae said...

I don't miss phos; I miss eating it WITH YOU. ;u;

XOXO,

P.S. the third that that you miss section is quite depressing; it's almost like I don't have anyone to talk about God stuff at work. ;u; ~snf snf~

anne said...

You know, I never really understood how much of an actual learned skill this "intellectual vigor" thing is until recently. I mean, we know it doesn't really have anything to to do with intelligence itself, but I'd always thought it had more to do with the opportunities students have than actual instruction in how to think critically...
Just the other day i was thinking about this while reading a quarterly report for one of the programs I'm working on in my new job. The program uses participatory theater methodologies in conflict areas of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to (http://www.irex.org/project/youth-theater-peace). Pretty cool stuff. Anyway, a Hui-minority teacher from Kyrgyzstan responded in an evaluation "My relationship to the world and to people has changed because of (this program). Prior, I lived without analyzing these problems, but now I analyze all the time.”
I guess there was a time when i didn't have the tools for analytical thought either, but now i, too, "analyze all the time." :-)