Monday, April 24, 2006

An Unexpected Surprise!

I had an e-mail this afternoon from my fabulous Earlham professors who are leading our London program asking me if I would like an extra ticket to see Royal Hunt of the Sun tonight. It was great! I'm sorry that I didn't wind up seeing it with the friend that I had planned to see it with originally, but free is also fun. A bit long, but superb acting. The cartoonish characterizations of the Incas, did, at times (and especially in the first act) make me really uncomfortable. It was also a bit "bash you over the head with themes" at times and I think Schaffer must have had a laundry list: greed, check; religion, check; death, check; honor, check....he couldn't seem to stick to just one. Erm, and I recognized one of the actors from a similarity in phrasings without a program and not from the first row. That's just sad.

Still, I miss the National and need to get back in the habit of doing more than just study there.

The London Marathon & Essays

I distinctly recognize that I need to write about Africa. I've been having a hard time doing it. And, I should recap Geneva & Krakow. It was a fun, if busy break. Break's officially over now and I'm in the library already. I've got an essay due on Thursday and I've only got 1200 of my 4000 words (and in rough draft format at that). What is a human rights approach to poverty? I can't pretend that I wasn't influenced by the trip to africa and a fair amount of the stuff I was reading about the Peace Corps at the same time. I'm also getting frustrated with the traditional anti-poverty literature that all seems to say the same stuff. I'm not talking about the structural adjustment folks, but the guys who say "structual adjustment didn't work, $1/day is a lousy measurement, but let's approach this at the macroeconomic level anyway!" As a preview for all of you, I'm hoping to be pretty adament that a human rights approach to poverty is a) one that defines poverty in terms of actual deprivations (i.e. no clean drinking water nearby) (and to be fair, the anti-poverty guys have done some really significant and good work that's accomplished this) and b) one that focuses on the individual as the primary unit of any anti-poverty strategy. It's about empowerment, access to public services and localized solutions. But, I think I've been in favor of localism since the Iraq War and my frustration with all the people who wanted to Think Global (and go protest), instead of Acting Local[ly] (knocking on doors for a State Rep. candidate). This from a girl whose sole ambition is to join the UN.

In other news, I saw Shashi Tharoor speak again. He's still pretty darn smooth and did a great job at handling questions from the room. His advice: don't join the UN unless you're both an idealist and a realist at heart. I think I qualify. Yesterday was the London Marathon and I don't know when I last had such a great time cheering and yelling random people's names! There's such a huge sense of comraderie between all the spectators and the marshals with us were pretty darn cool. I was under the last tower on Tower Bridge and you can just see where I was in some of the photos taken at the end of Tower Bridge. What can I say? It was raining when I got there and I wanted to be in the dry. I got my times mixed up and got there far too early, but it was fun. The lead groups were amazing and the costumes were so much fun! I'm just sad that I left before seeing the Dalek that was pictured on one of the BBC photo pages. :-( It was also fun cheering for friends/relatives of the people you were with in the crowd. I'd also planned well, because I was able to duck straight over to the Tube station in order to get to school for some essay fun.

Finally, I was chatting to j00j last night and I'm pleased to report that we've got our futures all figured out, including a way that we can have a starving grad students/Earlham reunion! Now we just have to work Jules into this scheme. We're so planning to be the Save the World Triumverate.

And, now, I will actually start working for the day. Sorry for going so long without an update!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I had an "are you still alive" e-mail, so I wanted to drop a quick post. I've been sleeping in tents in the middle of nowhere, outside Arusha, and outside Dar-es-Salaam, so no internets until now. Home on Sunday. Until then, Zanzibar!