Monthly Archives: January 2010

Alphabet Internship

So, another internship update.  As far as the Uganda-search goes, I’ve found two viable options barring unique chances, but I’ll get to that part later.  For the passed month or so I’ve looked at two organizations to go with, and I talked to some people about them recently.

On Tuesday night, my friend Kevin gave my class a talk about AIESEC and how they help students go abroad. I talked to him about some registration details, and they’ve got a lot of programs at Makarere University. They’re all HIV/AIDS advocacy and awareness programs as far as I can see. AIESEC’s cost is $500, and I’d have to cover my flight and visa.  It’d be an inexpensive way to get me to Uganda and do some rewarding work. It would be in Kampala instead of in the north, but I think I’d be okay with it.

On Thursday, I had a long chat with my friend Heidi, who spent 6 months (about) in Uganda doing AIDS work and agricultural something-or-rather. She went through FSD, a group that partners organizations with potential interns. The group seems pretty good, and they have a human rights wing that would put me in an even better field that the aforementioned AIDS work (still admirable!).  According to the site, human rights work could include: lobbying for children’s rights, represent marginalized groups in community development, help communities protect themselves from exploitation, and rehabilitate and reunify youth with their families. The program is quite a bit more, and the price goes up per week that I’m there.  Estimates would put me down $4000, which is quite the whammy when I would still have to cover tuition and such other costs. According to the website, the fee is 100% tax deductible, which I’d have to look into. The internships would be in Masaka or in Jinja, still not in the north but I could deal.

So, it’s AIESEC v. FSD.  While I think of the two, I’ll be following more routes to put me in Gulu or Pader. I have a few last contacts that I could at least try, and Cameroon is in my back pocket.

Ugandafricameroon

So, the internship search is still very, very on.  But, I’ve got some decisions to make I guess.  My parents are trying to help me out by talking to friends from/in other countries while I continue pestering NGOs and think tanks.  My idea has always been to try to go to Uganda (or somewhere else in the Great Lakes region) as a priority. If not, West Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia would all be great as well.

My parents have some small possibilities in Taiwan and Thailand, which would be cool.  However, they have a friend from Cameroon that has some pretty high-and-mighty connections.  By that, I mean my dad said she called one of the Supreme Court justices to see if there was anything they could do to help me.

I have sent countless letters to groups in Uganda. My friends at Resolve Uganda apologized and said they would if they could, but passed me along to another group that might help.  There’s also a placement group that will help me get around in Uganda if I research something there.  But, I’m facing an impasse: should I struggle to find a mediocre internship in fields like AIDS awareness, soldier rehabilitation, or displacement aid, or should I go to Cameroon and get a sweet   government placement?

The problem is that my heart is in Uganda. I have spent several years following the conflicts in northern Uganda, criticizing the President, and watching scores of friends go and come back hoping that I could one day join them.  I have the prior knowledge, I love the place (from afar), and I want to go there.  But Cameroon might be a better fit and the work there might get me further as far as future paths go.

Maybe I’ll end up in Canada or something.

School’s In for Spring

Every semester, I end the first week by breaking down the first impressions of each class/professor. And take a glimpse at my workload.  Despite a very rainy week and a few lapses in timing (including a full parking structure at the light rail station, which made me walk a half-mile in the rain instead on Thursday) I made it to all of my classes.  Here’s to Spring 2010.

Global Career Development is going to be my most relaxing class.  We have a string of guest speakers from the university, NGOs, and international businesses.  The professor is an adorable little excitable Japanese lady and she seems like she’ll keep it from getting too boring.  On Thursday we took a survey on what abilities we had to offer. I also have a string of friends sitting at the same table, so I’ll have some company in our career development!

Contemporary U.S. History has been kind of a love/hate class so far. The professor likes to use media a lot which is cool, and he knows his stuff.  But he’s been trying to treat the course more like a seminar, but it’s a bit too big for that.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try to chime in though!

Principles of Global Economics is taught by the same excited Japanese professor. The course, as its title might suggest, concentrates on economics (not my point of interest) but it has actually been interesting so far. Lots of talk about global issues and country examples, and I’ve got a whole row of friends, including Alli, to keep me company for the first three hour class of each week.

German is a little daunting.  It’s accelerated, which is why we’ve learned 287+ words and phrases in two days, and it promises to keep up the pace.  We have two essays, two oral exams, a final, and a lot of vocab throughout.  The professor is pretty laid back, but speaks German about 85% of the time.  Utilizing my old German from high school has been a lot of help, but I find myself filling wholes with a mix of English and Mandarin, making for a very bizarre vernacular.

Special Education Integration promises to be pretty boring. The professor was clearly a junior high teacher, but hopefully that won’t bother me too much.  Thankfully, it doesn’t look like it will be too much work to keep up with the course.  But, we will have some cases to play out in our placements which will be interesting.  I also find myself very alone in my education classes now. Every single one of my College of Education friends is student teaching this semester, which means I’m the only one taking classes and I’m amid crowds of strangers who have taken a half dozen classes with each other. It’s a long three hours to say the least.

History Methods is kinda the same. I don’t know many people, except Clay who petitioned to take the class while he is student teaching. It’s the same professor as my other history class, which is why we watched John Adams excerpts and will be doing some similar assignments.  Hopefully I’ll learn something to augment my giant binder from my other methods class.

Modern U.S. History is my dreaded online class.  Lots of reading, lots of discussions, and very little break time.  Online history courses are simply a nightmare sometimes.  But, it’s a time period I know less about so perhaps it will help out.  I would have taken colonial history instead (one I have even more to learn from) but that professor is really annoying, so I’ve chosen this one! We’ll see how it goes.

As for my classroom placement, no word yet! I’m officially a week behind, so I’ll be calling up the PFE office soon enough.  In the mean time, I’ll try to get through everything else.

All in all, my actual assignments have been meager.  Write a poem, fill out a survey, yada yada.  However, in one week I have been assigned a whopping 469 pages of reading about history, countries, economics, education, and languages.  I guess I should wrap up this post and crack open a book or two.

Making History

For the past few weeks I’ve been pestering Senator Jon Kyl’s legislative aide, Peter, about the senator’s co-sponsorship of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.  A couple of weeks ago, he assured me that Kyl had co-sponsored (something he rarely does), but we had no proof.  I bugged him again. Yesterday, he told me it was officially reported to Senator Russ Feingold’s office (one of the two original sponsors).  I was elated! And I was even more elated to hear this. In short, Kyl was the bill’s 51st co-sponsor in the Senate, making this the first sub-Saharan Africa-related bill to be supported by a majority of the Upper House since at least 1973 (maybe even earlier, that’s as far back as electronic records go).  Four senators got together to announce this landmark, showing unprecedented bipartisan support. If you’re interested, you can find some good excerpts from their announcement on Feingold’s site here.  The support in the Senate is great, but we’ve still got a ways to go:

Bad news is, the bill already would have passed the Senate if it wasn’t for one fiscal conservative. A while back, Senators Feingold and Brownback hot-lined the bill for passage, meaning it would automatically get 100 yeas unless a senator specifically blocked it. Right before the deadline, an anonymous hold was put on the bill. We now know that Senator Coburn is standing in the way of the best chance to end the longest-running war in the most conflict-heavy continent. In addition to that, the House is stalling.  150 representatives have co-sponsored, but we’ll keep pushing.  I’m trying to set up meetings with Mitchell’s and Flake’s district offices, so we’ll see. Got to keep fighting the good fight!

BFD

No, not the usual B.F.D., although last weekend’s Bridal Fashion Debut was a pretty big fucking deal.

On Sunday, Kim and I took our moms to the Arizona Bridal Expo to see all things wedding.  It was a big day, and I ended up with  roughly a fifteen pound bag after four or five hours of walking around.  Among these things numbered cards, pamphlets, brochures and other such material from 76 – yes 76 – photographers. And that’s not including the half dozen photobooths and countless other vendors I said ‘hi’ to.

Highlights: Got a lot of contacts like woah – we saw quite a few pretty places and talented photographers that should give us a good starting-off point.  Despite seeing some neat venues, Kim and I are still leaning towards a particular location – more word on that later.  Also, I saw Taylor! She is my wonderful photographer-friend whom I hadn’t seen in the better part of a year, so that was nice.  Also also I think I was entered in at least few score sweepstakes and drawings for things from coupons to engagement photo sessions.

Lowlights: That “lot of contacts like woah” statement means we have to sift through 80-odd photography companies and however many other vendors.  In addition to Taylor, I got a hug from another photographer – a woman who claimed she knew me and put me in a place of utter confusion. (Can’t pick her for the wedding!)

Overall it was a lot of fun.  We just have to take the piles of papers and cards and sift them into something manageable.  We’re hoping to get a few more appointments/visits set up and attended to before we get into the thick of things at school.  Got to get moving!

WIP Wednesday: Bedroom Blues

So, I’m hopping on the bandwagon.  Don’t know if I will keep it up, but this is my first Work in Progress Wednesday update.  Topic: the second bedroom.  Ever since we moved, it was the mess that loomed down the hall, and on Sunday I resolved that every day this week I would spend some time unpacking in there.  So, this is a half-way point for my progress with the room.  I didn’t get pictures of pre-Sunday, but I updated each night after organizing.  I don’t expect to get all of it unpacked in one week, but I hope to make quite a dent in it in these seven days.

Sunday, I started by unpacking my Invisible Children and IRIN media and taking out our yearbooks.  I put the bookcases together and unpacked quite a few boxes of books.  The room, after day one of resolved unpacking, looked thus:

WIPW Room1

Monday was a short day for me.  I put up all of my collection books (like LIFE photo books and such) and my World War II books.  One little thing about my WWII books.  For probably the past 6 years or so, I have set little toy army men all over the shelf that has these books.  Green versus Brown.  So, I got distracted and spent the rest of my clean-up time setting the field.

WPIP Room2

Yesterday’s unpacking actually seemed a little bit more productive.  I emptied all of my books onto the bookcases and even got rid of some extra stuff.  With some floorspace opened up, I moved some things around to make it more roomy.

WIPW Room 3

So, still a lot of work to do.  It truly is a work in progress, but – with a little hope and a lot of motivation – it will shape up by week’s end.  I have every intention of having a work-still-in-progress-but-my-resolution-was-successful post on Saturday or Sunday.  The boxes need to go.  The CDs need to be put away.  Christmas decorations need to be packed up.  Filing cabinet needs some sorting.  And that really does put a dent in the unpacking that we still have to do.  Here’s to the last half of this resolution and to my first work in progress!

A year in review

It took me less than 72 hours to realize that my intentions of declaring ten goals for 2010 were misplaced.  Why?  I’m not one for New Years resolutions.  I tend to resolve to do things as I think of them, and I decided at the last minute that coming up with ten things on New Years Day just wasn’t right for me.  I’ll try to do plenty of things in the next year, for sure, but I won’t be starting on day one but adding to what I’ve already got in the works.  However, I will make it up to you (as I’m sure you are all tuning in for my resolutions).  Instead of making resolutions, I am going to take one last look back and revisit my old tradition of reviewing the year.  No restrictive numbers or formats, no rules or audience – just remembering.  A lot of this may look like the last post, and I’m sorry for that.  This is just me pouring everything into a post.

This year started off between semesters at school and a couple of months into independent living.  I delved into what would be a very momentous year, but I had no idea at the time.  Kim and I rang in the New Year at the Tempe Block Party.  It was our first New Years together and it was quite a bit of fun despite quite the crowd.  Starting there, the following have happened:

-The Rescue hit.  I joined about a thousand people in a march where we abducted ourselves to raise awareness for the abducted child soldiers in Uganda.  We proceeded to sleep on a field in a makeshift camp alongside 100,000 others in 100 cities in 10 countries.  Several of my friends moved on to Albuquerque, then Wichita and finally Chicago while I called public servants all over the country to help them out.

-Kim and I celebrated seven great years!  Just one big step in a long line of getting closer and closer.  The celebration weekend was a lot of fun and we got to enjoy a lot of things we had wanted to do for a while – a concert, a museum, a zoo and painting.

-I went to LA with Kim, Cristina, and Zach.  The trip definitely had its ups and downs, but it was really nice to be on a trip with Kim again and it was pretty fun running around with Cristina.  California is always fun, but it was especially nice to see Los Angeles, which I don’t see too often.

-I flew to Washington, DC for something huge.  I joined 1600 people in the biggest lobbying effort for an African issue in American history: the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.  For me this was a huge reunion with dozens of great friends and a chance to meet some of the coolest people.  In the end I had a great time and am stoked to do more lobbying.

-Kim and I took a huge leap in buying a townhome in Tempe.  After months of saving and discussing, we have settled down in our very own home and are enjoying it very much.  It’s roomier than our quaint apartment and we’ve got a little garage to match our little patio.

Final statistics are thus:

Places visited: Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC.

Places lived: Mesa, AZ; Tempe, AZ.

Concerts attended: No Doubt.

Altruistic/Political events: Project CURE; Rotary River Rally; Malawi Dinner; The Rescue; How It Ends; Gulu Walk; Rock ‘n’ Roll Paint-a-thon; Hometown Shakedown; Schools For Schools.

Anniversaries: Seven years dating; twenty years alive; one year engaged.

Courses taken: History Methods in the Community; France in WWII; Human Development; SEI Endorsement II; Intro to Violence, Conflict, and Human Rights; Teachers and the Law; Technology in the Classroom; Physical Geography; SEI Endorsement; The Vietnam War; Content Literacy; Religion, Nationalism, and Ethnic Conflict; Global Trends; SGS Internship; Inquiry into Religion and Conflict; Facing the Past.

Blog posts: 14.

People annoyed: Probably whoever reads this and the previous post.  Whoops.