What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Saturday, January 29, 2011


What to do now?  There are several possibilities.  But first, a caveat...  There are of course two aspects to this blog, the project and me the person.  I have worked hard to try to minimize myself as a person in comparison to the project and issues being faced.  This trip and its aftermath taught me though that I do have to pay some semblance of attention to my own well being and self.  Meaning that at some point I have to find some stability in terms of income, housing, etc.  As much as I'd love to function purely as a wondering anti-povertyism monk, it is not proving to be entirely feasible!

This being said, the following options may tend to be colored with a bit more of a compromising pragmatism than the blind devotion to the purely altruistic goals that I'd like to follow.

  1. Once I got out of the hospital I started looking for work.  I was applying all over the US to any non-profit job I was either qualified or over-qualified for.  I have since been tentatively offered a job in Connecticut working with individuals with disabilities.  I am hopelessly overqualified for it by their own admissions, but there is tremendous room for upward mobility, as the organization is expanding into Connecticut and will be growing and developing there quickly.  I could be a big part of spearheading that.  Granted it is not the socio-economic poverty alleviation type of work that keeps me excited and up at night, but it would be a solid job that I would believe in and enjoy.  It would also give me solid experience and something more recently American on my resume.  I would have to move to Connecticut though which is a barrier, not to mention that I would need a car - which I currently don't have.  The job is in a holding pattern right now as they do not know where or when they expect to open the office.
    1. This job would give me cash to be able to do work on the side, nights and weekends.  But there would also be location and work related learning curves.  This stuff for Sierra Leone would be slow going.
  2. Sierra Leone.  Obviously my trip had a point.  I wanted to get experience/learn and I wanted to identify possible humanitarian opportunities.  I found more than I knew what to do with, and left early to try to facilitate them.  In a malaria induced haze, I think I lost track of my real goals and sought stability and safety.  I am not longer steeped in helplessness and clutching for branches.  I want to do what I set out to do.  The issue though is that things have changed a bit.  In my two months of sickness and recovery the time frames I was working with have been obscured.  I do not as of now know exactly where we stand with the brick project, the diaspora, or the solar street lamps.  I have communicated with Yapo and he is talking about materials and importing used goods from the US, as well as working to set up an internet cafe there.  So those are more things to think about, but realistically, I have to get the non-profit here set up and functional.  Only then can I accept donations and apply for funding and grants.  So making this a priority is an option.  But it does not provide a stable income or living situation.  
  3. My whole plan from the beginning while designing business operations for Sierra Leone, was to have offices in the US and Europe for fund raising and then operational offices globally such as the one in Sierra Leone.  There is of course poverty here in the US as well, though not like in Africa, and over the last two months I have spent a lot of time in several small cities just north of New York City, and have become enamored with Newburgh, NY. 
    1. It would be a good place to settle in to both do local work and operate an office for work abroad.  There could also be some good opportunities for funding for a local city like this.  
    2. It is a small city of 29,000 people but has one of the highest per capita violent crime and murder rates in the US, and endemic poverty.  There were 11 murders last year and a 76 person FBI gang bust.  The murder rate per capita puts it on par with cities like St. Louis and Detroit.  
    3. I grew up playing football and running track against the local high school and find myself driving through the city every chance I get.  The architecture and the historical side of the city begets so many possibilities, while at the same time, the current day socio-economic situation is a catastrophe of poverty and crime.
    4. With such a small city, we could really produce visible and understandable outcomes, especially with the type of programs that we would be interested in undertaking.  
So there it is, three real options.  Two are set up in may ways, Sierra Leone and Connecticut, one of which is easy, the other not.  Then of course there is the local addition, another ambitious scenario.  Is it feasible to move to Connecticut without the resources?  How could I move away from all this work and struggle?  Is it smart to try to add something new?  I'm just a squirrel trying to get a nut... so I can give it away!!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment