Aparna in Mozambique

Monday, April 07, 2008

Tofo (Tofu)

Hi all,


Here is my attempt at more frequent blogging, or less substantial blogging, not sure which one is a more accurate description. This time I am not in my pajamas, it being a Tuesday and all. Actually in my work clothes as I have 3 meetings today. I know, big deal for me, I much prefer being the permanent student and researcher but I guess that once in a while I need to be a semi-professional.

Yes, this last weekend I was in a place called Tofo, which is actually pronounced like Tofu. Kinda funny. Well, we ended up taking a bus up there, which took 8 hours from Maputo! I know, crazy. And then, all of our other friends that were meant to be there didn't come. We swam with whale sharks, rode horses at sunrise, ate at a delicious french restaurant, and enjoyed the georgeous beach. In a way, it was nice that we went, even though the others didn't join, because I would have probably never sucked up the 8 hour bus trip any other way.

On the way back from Tofo, I met a bunch of peace corps volunteers on the bus. I really admire what they do, but I kept thinking, wow am I glad that I am not a peace corps volunteer. It seems unnecessarily stressful. On the other hand, they are given jobs and these jobs give them purpose. They really identify with them. The one I was chatting to felt really comfortable in saying that she was a VCT counselor and that was who she was. I, on the other hand, struggle for words to describe my project, what I actually do, and how I do it! So, maybe it wouldn't be all that bad to have concrete ideas of what you are doing. Not sure. But, for the time being, I like being the pretend academic that I am. Although not quite sure how long I could do this for. The other thing that I thought about when I met them was communication. I've been thinking about this a lot anyways since my best friend is in a country where the communication is absolutely terrible, even though it is significantly more developed than where I was last year and this year. It just baffles me. And I finally get it, that when you can't communicate, you feel really far away, you get detached, you change, and then you forget that there are things going on away from you. I guess this is the point in all these really techie development projects. When people can see that there is something outside of every day life, outside of themselves, a bigger world in fact, and they start to think, I'm more than just me, well than that makes a big difference. I also think about this in terms of my family. Back then, when they came over, calls were expensive, so it makes sense that they felt really far away and that either people grew apart or came to live in our country. It was the only way. Communication is probably the most basic thing for people. And for someone like me who loves to chat, well, not being able to do that with someone who is really important to me, reminds me of how lucky I am most of the time...

Well, I guess I should prepare for my meetings. I will write more this week as I have more decisions rolling in about my future.

Happy April....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear aparna,

This is the first time I got yr Blog. I do'nt know why!

It is interesting the way things are going for u. You sholud seriously think of finding a job which suits u.


8:39 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Hi Aparna,

I haven't received your postings until now, but I enjoyed reading them all at once to gather the bigger picture.

It is so rewarding to watch your thoughts develop, and to reflect on my own.

I have heard other Fullbrights struggle with the same issues: being in a new place and conducting your OWN research takes a strong, motivated person, and is an experience that I imagine would incite a lot of self reflection.

Which brings me to your thoughts about the need to find a place in the world, and on the benefits of a balance of practicality and creativity.

This balance, in my opinion, is essential, as is communication. In fact, I think that much of what most people do is, on some level, driven by a desire to connect--with the world, with other individuals, with religion, with themselves.

Art allows people to see outside of themselves, or to see from a new perspective.It often pushes the boundaries of what is considered, at the time, acceptable or normal.

Connection with other people can also provide this outlet, as can a new place.

The fact that you are doing all of this at one time speaks worlds to the person that you are, and it is natural that you would be thinking intensely about your future goals.

Thank you so much for sharing!


5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am happy that the blog still lives because I really enjoy your thought process and reading about your experiences. Thanks for sharing with the folks back home. My Best, Mike Casey

2:13 PM  

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