makethislast

Friday’s full of this and that

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on February 25, 2011

A few PCVs describe their sites:

“I live in an oasis. There’s a palmary in the middle of the desert.”

“I live in the desert.”

“There’s only transit up the mountain at 12noon and 2:00pm.”

“I live in the mountains.”

“I live in the valley.”

“I can only get out of my site on Thursdays.”

I love it, all of it.

In other news, two more girls from my village are engaged: Khadija, my teenage host aunt, and Hafida, the president of the neddi.

My host aunt is happy and I’m happy for her. She was glowing when she told me. This is the biggest news for her since she started working in Casablanca.

The neddi president…claims to be engaged to a Swedish man. Except she doesn’t speak any French and her fiancé doesn’t speak any Arabic. She told me her friend was the translator for them both. She said her wedding will be in July. Inshallah.

Memorable text messages:

E: Dude even I get creeped out by the guys our age. I get soo awkward when they start talking about girls. Especially when they do it in English!”

PC: “Hi, We heard there might be protests this weekend. PLZ stay alert.”

NYT: Gates Warns Against Any More Wars Like Iraq or Afghanistan. Thanks for the official notice. I think anyone (other than George W. Bush) could have told you that. What an unfortunate allocation/distribution of resources, human and otherwise.

What will the military/government do with the outputs – displaced civilians, destroyed land, and injured veterans who suffer from physical/external and mental/internal injuries? How do you effectively inject these people back into society?

Mr. Gates seems to understand that those serving in the army are

“Men and women in the prime of their professional lives…To find inspiring work for its young officers after combat deployments, the Army must encourage unusual career detours, Mr. Gates said, endorsing graduate study, teaching or duty in a policy research institute, Congressional office or other branch of government. The defense secretary urged the cadets to master foreign languages and cultures.

Mr. Gates said his main worry was that the Army might not overcome institutional bias that favored traditional career paths. He urged the service to “break up the institutional concrete, its bureaucratic rigidity in its assignments and promotion processes, in order to retain, challenge, and inspire its best, brightest, and most-battled tested young officers to lead the service in the future.”

I suggest he rephrase his use of “unusual” since – and here I think this is increasingly evident – that the role/function of an army now is quite different than the one it held previously. It’s not so much about ground combat anymore. Troops need additional knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to survive and be successful now. Many of the “career detours” sited by Mr. Gates are related to education. For instance, in order to pursue graduate study, a person must have completed his/her undergraduate degree. The army needs to revamp the KSAs that it instills in its troops. Make troops functional both inside and outside of the military structure.

While I am extremely grateful that Morocco isn’t listed NYT’s Anti-Government Protests in 8 Arab Countries, I’m very much humbled by the events unfolding across the Middle East and North Africa. Catching glimpses of people charged with emotion, both triumph and anger, with tears streaming down their faces…makes me think about Americans in the U.S.

We have so many opportunities and resources at our disposal, yet, how many people actually make use of them? Are people really doing as much as they can do for themselves? Or are they only doing as much as they’re willing to do? How much of life is being lived in excess as opposed to essence?

We’re spoiled in America. We have the opportunity to choose – what we do, where we live, who we’re friends with. We complain so much about having then not having.

Then there are people halfway around the world. They aren’t as lucky. They are oppressed. Except, right now, they’re trying to get their voices heard. And it appears the world is watching if not listening to the protests unfold.

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