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Showing posts from March, 2012

Looking Behind, Looking Ahead

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
- Søren KierkegaardNow I am in Philadelphia, visiting my wonderful sister, brother-in-law, and little nephew.

Just last week, I was spending some of my last days with an old friend from high school before his wedding. He moved his wedding to an earlier date just so I could be there to be his best man. So, yeah... I'm pretty important. The guys took Daniel on a caving expedition at Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Southern Tennessee. We crawled through mud and slime and seas of baby salamanders (okay, there were only a few, but it's neat imagery, right?) to discover thundering underground waterfalls and streams and stalactites and -- well, it was really cool. The wedding was beautiful, powerful. The reception: classy, fun. I am very pleased that I decided to spend this last month with my friend. Sir, may your married days bring you lots of life and love.

And now, just around the corner, I am looking over the Atlanti…

Two Weeks to Go - Scattered Thoughts

Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to other men. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause--the cause of liberation.

- Paulo Freire, in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

What could be more important than to live and work with the oppressed, with the "rejects of life," with the "wretched of the earth"?

- Paulo Freire, in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

He went on writing his letter. I looked around. The airport, Charles de Gaulle, has an angular, steel-and-glass simplicity, which struck me just then as frighteningly complex, which made me feel projected into a future I didn't understand. I thought of its duty-free shop, where one could buy first-class Pâté, confit d'oie, grand cru wines. "You started that letter on a hike in rural Haiti," I mused alound, thinking now of those arid highlands, of medieval peasant huts, donkey ambulances. "It seems like another world."

Farmer l…

When Caring is Trendy

Dear Hipsters,

I like hanging out in your coffee shops. Really, I do. Thank you for providing a space in which to read and think about my future in the Peace Corps. I appreciate your good taste in music, in coffee, and in scarves. The acuity of your taste is no doubt related to the copious amounts of energy you pour into making sure other people perceive you just as you would like to be perceived. As I understand it, you want people to see you as not only trendy, but caring and relevant --attuned to the real problems of the real world.
Let's make one thing clear: talking about how much you love the poor and actually loving the poor are two different things. At some point in the past few years, I realized that caring has become trendy. Maybe even sexy. For example, I've often witnessed some college guy showing off to some college girl his concern for the downtrodden and weak, like a peacock fanning its plumage. Or again, a high school student boasting, positively boasting, about …