Almost two months ago, when I arrived back in Philadelphia, I decided to go for a run. I slipped on the running clothes I used in Uganda and took off out the door. At first I smiled at the similarities, but then I couldn’t help but laugh. Swap livestock for squirrels, chapatti stands for foodtrucks, and bodabodas (motorcycles) for trolleys and busses, and West Philadelphia isn’t so different than Arua! People greet me around every corner, there are beautiful gardens, and even clothes hang on clotheslines. Yet, there are the negatives too. Both places have struggling schools, poverty, and insufficient, consistent access to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. This makes me think of some questions a professor of mine at Penn asked on one of the first days of class: What is development? What does it mean to be developed?
I honestly still struggle with that question. But I feel like the more opportunities I have abroad and the more experiences I have to work in developing contexts, get me closer to understanding what that means. My tentative answer right now is: Development is people having the opportunities and resources to live they way they want to and need to peacefully live among each other in an environmentally sustainable way.
“So what’s next?” is a question I keep getting asked. This weekend I taught myself how to knit with double-pointed needles and knit a hat! I’ve become obsessed with my yoga practice and gotten back into swimming and running (earning some blisters along the way). More importantly, I spend most of my time job searching. My job is job-hunter. I’m looking for opportunities to get back to East Africa or explore cities like D.C. or N.Y.C. I’m open to conducting research, writing curriculum, program management, or program administrative work. I’m willing to go pretty much anywhere as long as I can continue my journey in understanding international educational development…so who knows where I’ll turn up next!
I appreciate you following and reading my blog. Thank you!