Month: August 2016

An Abundance of Philosophy with a Scarcity of Wisdom

Photo: Wikipedia As with most perspective-changing events, this one began on an idle Tuesday. One of my Nepalese coworkers approached me and explained that ISET hosted a competition awarding funding to graduate students, and the competitors were presenting their projects today. The presentations were going to be in English, and they asked me if I wanted to see them. I had figured out my lesson plan for the day and didn’t have much else going on, so why not? I came to the room and saw about 10 people sitting outside. They seemed nervous, but excited to tell us...

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On Political Imagination: A Letter

Author’s Note: This specific reflection was written in the days after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, but asks the same questions that occurred after each of the terrible events which dominated this summer’s news coverage. Dear LBJ school community, Sometimes a terrible event arrests us and demands that we ask ourselves – what am I doing? What is my purpose? Why am I on the path that I currently pursue? Sadly, there were  several tragic events this summer, but above all others, the mass shooting of mostly queer and mostly Latinx and Afro-Latinx persons at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub pushed...

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Solid Waste Services in the Neighborhood of Zurza, Santo Domingo

For the past few weeks, I have been accompanying FUNDSAZURZA in its various solid waste management operations. This blog post will describe FUNDSAZURZA’s organizational history and will also detail my observations of the organization’s main operations:  Street Sweeping, Cart Collection, Truck Collection, Transfer Station, Recycling Collection, and Recycling Center.  Organizational History In the late 1990s1, the National District municipality of Greater Santo Domingo did not offer solid waste management services in Zurza nor in surrounding informal neighborhoods. Trash piled in the streets and became breeding grounds for rats and mosquitos, provoking higher incidents of disease and infant mortality2. Community...

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There is no Road in Your Home: Social Networking in Uganda

Photo: Laura Richards “There is no road in your home,” my neighbor Michael said to my friends and I as we sat down with a plate full of homemade Ugandan food. I tilt my head in confusion, trying to fit his words into the context of the evening full of dancing, singing, talk of politics and accompanying laughter. “There is no road in your home,” Michael repeats. “It means you do not just pass through one’s home. When you are here, you can stay here and you are all always welcome to stay here.” We are all touched and...

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Shanty Towns and First World Problems

Photo: Paul Ryan I’m honestly not sure how I ended up in Nepal. I speak Arabic, I specialize in the Middle East. But thanks to the LBJ internship requirement, I found myself off on a 14-hour plane ride to Kathmandu. And like every good LBJer, I was going off to make the world a better place, to make my first mark in the field of Aid and Development. And now every morning before I go off to make that contribution, I eat my breakfast facing a Nepalese shanty town. Not directly, of course, but if you’re tall enough, and...

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