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Blessed to be Back!

June 4, 2014

Well, I’m finally back here blogging, at least for long enough to give you all an update on my meanderings. As I should have expected, my second semester of graduate school proceeded to run me over. Arguably, I was more prepared this time, and I started out in with a better state of mind following my rejuvenating trip to visit my brother Will and his fellow Jesuit Volunteers in Micronesia. Adding an internship to my part-time research assistant job and full-time course load proved more difficult than I expected, but I can’t complain because I have the opportunity to study what I want at a great university, a privilege that very few have.

With the end of the spring semester, I have taken advantage of summer to return to South Africa and Tanzania. I just completed an excellent 17-day graduate seminar in Cape Town through my graduate school, American University’s School of International Service (SIS). It was beautiful how quickly the nine of us graduate students and our AU professor bonded, and the outstanding lectures and site visits helped me consider different perspectives on South Africa’s democracy and development, the theme of our course. It was also a blessing to meet up with a number of friends from my semester there, including several who were unavailable when I passed through in 2012. Other highlights include finally get into a daily rhythm of running (on trails along the base of Table Mountain!) and attending a multiracial, reformed church. I know it may sound strange, but worshiping in new churches is one of my favorite parts of crossing cultures. The Body of Christ is far more diverse and beautiful than many Westerners, both Christians and non-Christians, realize. I have already posted twice about my experiences in Cape Town on the SIS study abroad program’s blog, first reflecting on my experience in light of my 2008 study experience (the original impetus for this blog) and then considering South Africa’s constitutional protections for multilingualism.  I’ve included a completely unrepresentative sample of my Cape Town photos below.

Although Cape Town is hard to beat, I’m even more excited about the next chapter of my summer. On Monday, I flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This is my first time back since leaving in December of 2012. I hope to be here in Dar doing research for three weeks for my prospective master’s thesis examining how the British colonial institution responsible for promoting the KiSwahili language transformed itself to eventually become part of the Tanzanian government’s flagship university. (It’s fascinating to me at least, and I’m working on ways to make this story more accessible to non-specialist readers.) Lord willing, I will then head north to Moshi, where I lived during my time as a Jesuit Volunteer, and reconnect with many friends for a week or so before heading back to the States. I’ve been doing my best to use and improve my KiSwahili, which continues to open so many doors for me here. I know I always end my blog posts with unfulfilled promises of writing more soon, but I hope to provide more updates on life in Dar and confront stereotypes about what doing archival research in Tanzania is like.  I’ll also try to post a few more South Africa pictures.

May the Truth always set us free,

One Comment leave one →
  1. peggy straight permalink
    June 10, 2014 11:42 am

    always nice to be able to catch up with you Andy. Just last night, at the Scout meeting, one of the parents commented about the citizenship in the world mb, you and the nice job you did with it.. and wished that more merit badges could be handled like we did that one. good job again. Hope all is going well, Diego just passed his Life board last night and is continuing working in the direction of Eagle. i really am hopeful that he reaches it. Will keep you posted. He enjoyed getting your letter a while back. stay well, greeings to Will, if you see him/talk to him soon. hugs to both of you from “the old one”. 🙂

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