I'm online again! This is now a rare luxury. Actually, I'm at an internet cafe in Williamstown with my team. We've had so much research to do for our fund-raising trip coming up in September and our internet has been down, so field trip time.The last few days here have been busy however, this week-end was a free week-end and after finishing my papers and presentations which I will talk about later, Tamika, Valeria and I headed for New York. It's great showing people around New York for the first time. Valeria is from Argentina and her mouth was wide open the entire trip. Tamika who is from Baltimore was excited too, I think this was her second time in the City. Thanks Krista and Dawn for entertaining us on the Lower East side and super thanks to Krista for putting us up for the night. It was fantastic to be back in town, even if it was for one night only.
My time at IICD has been divided into many parts:
1) Planning the IICD Olympic Games which our school in Massachusetts will be hosting (there are two other schools in the US - Michigan and Cali). The games will be held this week-end and the activities are crazy (scavenger hunt in the woods, paint ball, sprint up the side of the mountain, biggest splash in the pool, tug of war, etc...) I'm conducting the opening ceremony and have prepared a speech and will be donning a toga.
2) Preparing for our first fund-raising trip which will be to Washington D.C. from September 3-16th. We need to secure permits, accommodations, strategies etc... We need as a team to fund-raise approx $86,000.00. We will have four two week fund-raising events. The strategies include door to door begging in residential neighborhoods, setting up tables in front of stores such as Wal-mart and Trader Joe's, setting up booths at colleges and universities, speaking at churches, and anything else that we can come up with. (YOUR IDEAS ARE VERY WELCOME!!!!)
3) Preparing a presentation on the Berlin Conference. Basically the Berlin Conference was when the various European nations decided to get together and slice and divide the African continent. The country borders that we see today are a direct result of this conference which marked the beginning of Africa's official colonization. You'll notice that certain countries around Lake Victoria in particular are cut irregularly because every European country wanted a piece of the lake or a piece of a particular beach/coast. It was a terrible thing obviously, families were split apart, apartheid became the political norm, Africans were virtually enslaved all over again and subjugated and forced to work for the Europeans in order to make money to pay the taxes that were imposed on them, Africa's natural resources were robbed and used to fuel Europe's economy and further their industrial revolution, farmers were forced to abandon growing the crops that fed their families and were forced to grow cotton so that it could be shipped to Europe and starvation grew ramped and soil was leached, to name a few consequences... Don't get me started, I could go on and on all day! My focus is on Portugal and how they received Mozambique, Angola and Portuguese Guinea. Which is perfect because I will be going to Angola. My presentation will be on Tuesday.
As I've said before the classes are very interesting and we are very busy. The people on this mountain are interesting, some are fantastic and others are completely crazy and I wonder why they are even participating in this program. Certain people and things are larger than life and you wouldn't believe me if I told you so I'll spare you those details.
Last night was so fun. A group of about ten of us decided to play flashlight tag around midnight. Have I mentioned that our mountain is pitch black at night, it was a crazy game. Then some of us went for a walk in our "haunted woods", as protection we took Bear, one of our dogs with us in case we ran into a bear or something else. So four of us, including myself are brave or stupid enough to enter the woods while everyone else waited outside. At first things are great, we're walking and joking and singing and suddenly, Bear stops leading us, he gets really quiet and still. He looks left and then right and then looks at us and whines. This crazy dog then jets, he left us, so we followed suit screaming and running wildly with vines and branches smacking us in the face. It was really funny.