Flinn Scholars News
Tuttle's Tanzanian travels
'02 Scholar Dan Tuttle joined other U.S. volunteers on a seven-month sojourn to Arusha, Tanzania, to teach school children about HIV/AIDS. Dan recorded some of his experiences as a travelogue here. Enjoy!
Dan Tuttle, a junior at the University of Arizona and Class of 2002 Flinn Scholar, recently joined other U.S. volunteers on a seven-month sojourn to Arusha, Tanzania, to teach school children about HIV/AIDS. Dan arrived with the Students for International Change program in May, and will be recording some of his experiences as a travelogue here until he leaves Tanzania in December.
Started with the help of Flinn alumnus Tina Wu ('98) last summer, SIC is a partnership between UA and Stanford University. The program brings college students from UA, Arizona State University, Stanford, and University of California, Los Angeles to Tanzania for eight-week summer sessions and twelve-week fall sessions to teach about HIV/AIDS in rural villages with the help of Swahili translators. Students of all majors are welcome to apply through these universities.
Volunteers in Arusha stay in a hostel as a group for their initial orientation, then move in with individual homestay families in surrounding villages.
Anticipating a career in international development work, Dan is an International Studies and Economics double major. With the Flinn Foundation's support, Dan applied and was accepted to teach in both the summer session beginning in May 2004 and the upcoming fall session, which will run from September to December. Between sessions this summer he is traveling around sub-Saharan Africa with fellow SIC volunteers.
In addition to this travelogue, he has also posted a blog on At Home in the World (http://www.athomeintheworld.com), shared by other Arizona students studying abroad. Even though Internet availability is erratic in Tanzania, Dan will be updating this Flinn travelogue regularly through the fall semester.
The following are excerpts from Dan's blog, covering the period of May-August.
Arrival (or Family)
--Yesterday we moved in with our homestay families. There is apparently an unspoken competition every year to see which volunteer gets picked up last.
This year? I win.
It came down to three of us waiting outside our hostel, the Centre House. Then it narrowed to two, and finally my host mother came walking up. I was so excited not to lose, that I gave her a hug and got a picture with her, but this seemed a little over the edge for her more refined sensibilities. We called a taxi, but she seemed to get tired of waiting and walked away after five minutes to find one on her own.
In the meantime, Matt, my final opponent, had been picked up by his host father and left me there, waiting for my slightly-disapproving mother to return. My guess? I just wasn't tall enough for her liking. Eventually she came back with the most run-down taxi that I've ever ridden in, and we took a short drive back to her home in Njiro, south of the main city. The closer we got to her home, the more gracious she became.
I have a host brother of 22, Luis, and both Mama and Baba Luis (Tanzanian convention is to call them Mama/Baba ) are very kind. I enjoy talking with them when I am home. It feels odd moving from a large group setting staying with all sorts of dynamic volunteers to a more down-home, conservative household without equal company. Kind of lonely, though that should wear away.
The food is wonderful, the housegirl (domestic servants are very common for all Tanzanian families, despite their socioeconomic condition), and their middle class home has a European-style toilet--frankly, I'm slightly sad about this.
Rules for the Road
--Rules I've picked up so far (not a comprehensive list):
- Don't talk about religion, sex, or politics.
- Don't you dare enter the house without removing your shoes.
- Do not, under any circumstances, think that drinking water counts as taking Mama up on her hospitality.
- Tea is good.
- Bucket showers are not bad.
- Close the window at 6:15 p.m. to keep out mosquitoes (and to placate Mama Luis).
- Set your alarm in the morning and check it twice, because with the window's wooden shutters your room will be pitch-black.
- Do not flail when you wake up in a pitch-black room.
--The contrast between the African city and the African village is striking. The city features exhaust, open sewage, burning concrete, belligerent horn-honking, and a traffic bedlam that astounds me still. All of that chaos falls away as you drive outward to different villages. I teach in Kiserian, a miniscule village hoisted on a gradually failing plateau that is bordered by tens of thousands of corn stalks. From the center of our school, I can see a 360-degree panorama of the Serengeti. The African grass plains roll off smoothly into horizons broken only by distant, inexplicable hills. Grandiose trees remind you that the land (porini) is still much as it was thousands of years ago.
The village offers a simple life. No running water: Use the well (bomba). No electricity: Use a candle. No cars: Ride a bike. No hawkers: Walk peacefully.
Yet somehow the vastness of the area provides a great sense of privacy, of fulfillment, and of the pure contentment of living Thoreau's simple life. Beginning to understand the ways of these farmers makes me feel at peace with my decision to try and bring life-saving education to the villages. Never before have I had any appreciation for these peoples, but now I wholeheartedly support the people, whether brave or stubborn or both, who have forgone employment opportunities in the cities in order to continue living in uninterrupted tradition.
--Since beginning to teach, we have hit a great many barriers on our quest to help educate people about HIV and AIDS. The headmaster at one school forbade us from teaching about HIV to standard four, citing that it was prohibited "according to government policy," which is untrue. Though the district's minister of education publicly supports our mission, it is difficult to channel that support into the concrete dealings with lower school officials.
More encouragingly, we were received very warmly by the students in the fifth standard. They know quite a bit about condoms, along with an interesting mix of HIV facts and myths. Eliciting participation was difficult, but I expect that they will become more accustomed to our interactive ways of teaching only after a few days. Hopefully, exposing them to this new style of learning might help them begin to think for themselves about the decisions that they can make to improve their own lives. Education is an exchange of ideas, not a sponge-like absorption of material.
--I just returned from my second HIV+ patient visit in Unga Limiteri, which means "Limited Flour," for the local flour plant that closed. It is the poorest village near Arusha. I came here thinking I was looking for a career in development. Knowing what poverty really is seemed like a good place to start. Now, my eyes are opening. The longer I stay here, the more I understand about how the economics of poverty foster all of the problems of society.
--Like my uncle presciently said: Life took a shot at me, point blank. There are high points to balance out the lows, and I think it's the prevalence of these highs that astounds me. Tanzanian hospitality, for one. Peoples' happiness when I greet them in their own language. Seeing Mt. Meru and its hills next to the town. Talking with my host brother about HIV last night. Meeting the cutest, most innocent little children blissfully content to play with homemade toys on dusty fields next to burning piles of garbage. The spirit that pervades this place is frighteningly powerful. Giving from it, because it is endless, is what these people do.
I was about to write: "Sometimes I wonder if I'm cloaking myself too much in comforts here," and talk about the acceptable lifestyle you can have in Arusha if you have a bit of money. But then Alex, one of the translators who teach in Mlangarini Ward, walked by the window of the Internet cafe, and came in to chat for a few minutes.
Alex is around 50 years old, and was diagnosed with HIV more than ten years ago. He is very open about his positive status, a member of many support groups, and a volunteer for local organizations that provide resources for HIV+ people. He is one of the most inspirational people I've met here. Most HIV+ people here have 5-7 years from being infected until they develop AIDS, then a year of life after that. Alex's care for his family and himself has kept him alive and remarkably healthy for a time much longer than that.
People can survive.
--This past Sunday, I went on the most beautiful hike of my life. Arusha sits at the base of Mt. Meru, a 14,000-foot peak flanked by rolling hills and canyons. We climbed miles through the town and up the hills, weaving a dusty trail through the green slopes where many Maasai grow their crops.
Children greeted our long line of wazungu (meaning "dizzy people," or whites) trekking up the mountain in droves. Not yet halfway, we rested in the most spectacular mountain village I could have imagined, sitting down in its soccer field and listening to the Sunday morning church choir only a few dozen yards away. I spoke with some kids who helped me with my Swahili, and whom I helped with their English, attempting to convince them that their tiny hometown overlooking the city below was far more beautiful than the United States.
We then slid on our bums down the slickest mud that I've ever found, through an Indiana Jones-style twisted jungle trail until we hit the bottom of the rift, where a quick-flowing stream and two Tanzanians in military getup who were apparently harmless. Trudging another kilometer upstream in my sneakers, we finally reached Arusha Falls and stood in awe.
I enjoyed racing the Maasai kids down the mountain on the way home, using my preferred speedy mode of downhill travel: skipping.
--Once I dropped all of my old expectations about how things are back in the States, the mosquito nets, outdoor sewers, random missing manhole covers, smelly clothing, and grueling sun all don't seem as foreboding as they did before I left Arizona.
Some things, however, are still bone-chilling and surreal. For example, the man who sits on the bridge near our hostel is different from the other beggars because he has no fingers. He was a victim of the Hutu/Tutsi genocide in Uganda and Rwanda in 1994, one of the millions who were not left dead, but terribly maimed for dissenting--spoken or unspoken--with the new ethnic majority.
Looking northward in the morning through a hazy sky to see 14,000-foot Mt. Meru right next to the city is surreal. Dreaming of home and friends and family, then waking up under a mosquito net is surreal.
Taking malaria medication to ward off a disease that I have heard of but never seen is surreal. Being constantly pestered by the hawkers on the street, called 'flycatchers,' is surreal. Paying eighty cents for a huge lunch is surreal.
Going with my host brother to a club on Saturday night only to learn that nine out of every ten women there were prostitutes is surreal. Watching a 65-year-old U.N. worker dance with an 18-year-old African girl before taking her home and most likely paying her 20,000 shillings is surreal.
Looking at the world knowing that one out of every five people I pass is HIV positive and will be socially rejected if their families ever find out is surreal.
I am unsure at what breaking point the realities around me will coalesce back into a feeling of belonging, at what point the virtues and the sins of the culture and people around me will begin to weave themselves together in the back of my mind.
And until that sobering point, I don't know how to answer people who ask, "How's it going?"
--It is a curious feeling to be white in this country, and to be somewhat stranded on the other side of the world with a foreign family, foreign customs, foreign language. People come to America for all sorts of reasons, all the time. Whites come to Africa chiefly for tourism, and very often for only a week at the most. When people ask me how long I'm staying and I tell them seven months, I can tell from their reactions that I'm changing their impressions of wazungu. Especially when I make the effort to speak the local language, which is embarrassing for me at times, but never fails to please those with whom I talk. Even though I am tremendously conscious of race now, it is tempered by the extraordinary and genuine friendliness that I have found here.
Yes, I am rapidly settling into the family structure, but I will always have my underlying racial identity to remind me of my innate differences from the people I live amongst. Make no mistake, I am not grumbling and unhappy. Merely confused.
I hooked a safari company last week into taking some friends and me to Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Maasai's "Mountain of God." Best $100 I've ever spent.
When I thought about seeing the extremities of the world, I didn't think that I would find them in the dusty, overgrazed plains. I thought about the water at Niagara Falls and the length of the Yellow River, or the vastness of Antarctica and height of K2. Standing far shorter is Lengai, a volcanic cone rising near the Tanzania-Kenya border.
Volcanoes still meant baking soda, vinegar, and dye a few days ago. Weekend childhood boredom and elementary school science contests erupted into colored foam that tastes bad, but is harmless. That is, I've never been to Hawaii to see the scarlet glow of 1200-degree (*C) lava. I've never experienced a major earthquake or terrifying event to remind me that we stand on thin insulated plates over a magma sea. Even after seventh grade earth science I relegated volcanoes to unknown scientists and the occasional National Geographic.
Lengai beat some respect into me. Overpack into an extended Land Rover, drive 250 hot kilometers over forgotten footpaths, set up camp, and have dinner. Hope you slept well the night before, because when the rain drips into your overloaded tent you'll be too uncomfortable to nap. Three hours later, the water will have disappeared into the baked ground and you will awaken to your 11 p.m. alarm. Time to climb the mountain.
We parked the car by half-past midnight and began a trudge uphill to our guide's mantra, "polepole" (go slowly). An hour. Another hour. Another hour. Tiring, the way the slope keeps increasing. The mountain is covered in its own ash, built up conically such that every step is steeper than the last. Expect no ledges for sitting, no packed soil to secure your shoe soles. Another hour. Another half-hour. Then a sheer rock face you must scramble up with all four limbs to the lip of the crater, where at the five-hour mark you celebrate having finished the hardest climb of your life by moonlight alone.
Rounding down into the crater, I was somewhat surprised to still be breathing air. Not only does the ground finally level, it smokes and reeks of sulfur. Stacks of volcanic ash puff constantly into the thin air, safely releasing the gas pressure trapped inside the lava. The white, cracked ground shatters underfoot when trekking from one side of this moonscape to the other.
But I was still on Earth. Indeed, the sun still rose and lit up the stumpy peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro near the horizon. The moon? Still there, suspended above this otherworldly ash cone. This break between months of teaching about HIV in Arusha landed me in an unbelievable new world. Maybe the pictures help.
I can't be sure what this past weekend taught me about living abroad. It did, however, impart an awe for nature that has me thinking about going into environmental preservation. Who says that academic choices are best made in the classroom?
We decided that a spiritual place is an environment that cannot be described in words or photos or motion pictures, a place that tweaks lastingly with your sense of being.
Who would have thought I could visit one during college?
I learned the term "kleptocracy" from Thomas Friedman's Lexus and the Olive Tree, required reading for an International Studies class I took: it's a government characterized by rampant greed and corruption. I remember worrying that few things could cripple a country more than inadequate institutions for property rights and personal security. In the States, we can usually rely on the sanctity of the law—if something is illegal, then people in power won't do it for fear of being found out. The press probably has a good hand in forcing compliance. Some, if few, Tanzanian officials would work very well under this system. Some would not.
Last night we had to drive the clunky Land Rover to the Kilimanjaro International Airport to pick people from the fall program up. Dusty, a Stanford senior, was kind enough to bring 100 shirts to donate to kids participating in an HIV-related sports camp planned for the fall. The Tanzanian Revenue Authority saw the opportunity to enforce rule #8, the 50 percent tax on all gifts brought into the country. The stout, four-eyed individual impatiently explained the need to collect $125 USD for such gifts after I argued my way from the reception into the baggage claim TRA office to help my friend.
There were a few problems.
First, Dusty was new to the country. People new here suck up what government officials tell them and do it, fearing the consequences of disagreement. Ability to speak Swahili doesn't help their case, as officials can choose how much English to use or not to use to thwart and frustrate tourists.
Second, Brad got ticked. Also in the room, he began arguing with the official in English. Not the productive kind of English that diplomats use. This does little to ingratiate us to the kleptocrat.
Third, it was late and we were stressed about delaying any more the 45-minute drive back to Arusha.
But we had what most tourists don't: a familiarity with local customs laws, and enough Swahili to reasonably argue with them. Officials hate it when you know that the law they're invoking is not actually a law. It tends not to help them line their pockets. They also heavily dislike non-Tanzanians who speak good Swahili, and begin talking as fast as possible to muddle the issue. Thing is, I've become fairly competent with the language since May.
Sitting at the desk for thirty minutes, I argued with the official about the "tax." Non-profit organizations seeking to donate are exempt from import taxes on those goods. Clarifying the difference in translation of "gift" and "donation" seemed to help. But no, you need a notarized letter from the district office proving your NGO status specifically addressing these imported gifts, whereupon we can return to the faraway airport and collect the shirts. Also necessary was a $50 deposit to care for the shirts in the office, which would surely be returned to us after obtaining this letter. And to prove it, he showed me the official receipt book. I was very thankful that official documents are printed in English. Without any reliable means to come back, I got his promise to front us the money for a shuttle from Arusha, as he was unwilling to send the box through the post.
Apparently making officials promise to *give* you money is the way to fix any situation. He asked his subordinate to write us a receipt for the goods and note that we would be picking them up in the future, and I could see him standing dumbfounded at the instructions, not knowing how to begin. Indeed, that's not what those receipts were for. I continued talking, thanking him kindly for working this out peacefully, while Brad and Dusty walked out with all of the bags and shirts. Five minutes later, after being chastised for negligence (not having the letter) and commanded to spread this news to "my peers" that "law is different in the United States than in Tanzania," I gleefully walked out of the room and piled into the truck. No receipt, no deposit, no bribe.
Thwarting institutionalized thievery, one day at a time.
On tropical disease
Thanks to much support back home, I was able to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters), the highest mountain in Africa, for my twentieth birthday. Trudging endlessly up pebbles that slip-slide down the slopes underfoot, we began summitting at 11:30 p.m. the night of September 22, and reached the lip of the plateau just before sunrise.
Watching that glowing orange streak a burning line across the horizon, which curved with the earth to the north and south, standing thousands of feet above the highest cloud lines and being able to peer down onto the painted tips of that ocean of cotton balls--that was memorable. The climb was a predictable mental battle, but the reward...indescribable.
Birthday sickness fortunately waited until I was off the mountain, and was even kind enough to delay until the middle weekend of orientation. This past week I've been helping out with the two-week orientation and being the resident RA in Centre House, the hostel where all 16 of us volunteers stayed for a week. On Friday we moved into our homestays, and by Saturday morning I found myself a ride into the local clinic, AAR, on account of severe nausea, a little bit of the shakes, and a slight fever.
The result? Giardia! They put me on a big dose of Tinidazole (an antibiotic) and sent me along on my merry way. A day and a half of rest later, I'm back into full health. Not bad, though: Four months here and I've only contracted one food/water-related illness. It reminds me, in a way, of the Central Europe trip that all of the freshmen take, where I had my first run-in with waterborne disease. I got giardia there from a lapse in water safety in Romania, but at least this time I didn't contract it while on the plane back home. This weekend's lesson: Thank goodness for antibiotics.
Today's theme: animals. While walking to the daladala stand to catch a ride into town, I saw an old man carrying a bucket on his shoulder. In the bucket was a cow's head. The horns peeking out the top made me yield my dry walking path to the poor man, fearing that he would drop it on me if he slipped in the mud. Then I would have had to change clothes.
It stopped bothering me quickly, however, because I had just slaughtered and roasted a goat with the help of the staff this past Thursday, Julius Nyerere Day. We have plenty of pictures and digital movies. Although it sounds morbid, I can explain. In the States, I eat as little meat as possible because I don't subscribe to the idea of raising animals just to kill them. Being a vegetarian in Tanzania is difficult to the point of impossibility, especially in a homestay. Therefore, if I decide to eat meat I owe it to myself to have the grisly experience of watching where the meat comes from.
10:19AM, goat alive
10:21AM, goat dead.
Neither pretty nor desirable (but Joseph was kind enough to show us how the Masai traditionally do it, for which I was grateful).
Nyerere Day is a national holiday celebrating the United Republic of Tanzania's first president. He was socialist, which led to many economic partnerships with China that still last today and few with the United States, which was engaged in 1970's containment at the time. Despite that label, he is idolized by the populace for improving education and social services to the point of earning the title "Teacher." Any time you hear the reverential mention of "Our Teacher," you can assume that people are talking about him.
We left off at the cow-in-a-bucket. Just as I stepped aside into the mud, I saw a lovely little puppy trotting by. He stopped to smell my pants and shoes before merrily hopping along the narrow road. Eight inches long and fluffier than a plush toy, his looks protected him from random violence, at least until he ages a bit. If I had a place to keep him, I would definitely have picked him up straightaway and taken him to a nice home. Innocence is irresistible.
I waited for our in-country program director, Dr. Linus, in the parking lot of the local bar. A few stray dogs came by, parading their various maladies: one eye, an unusable paw, a small open wound, severe malnourishment—tough to watch. Back in the States, my family cares for three dogs; they're part of the family if they get Christmas presents—and let me assure you, they do.
Here, dogs are considered a nuisance. People attack them, and then wonder why they attack back. It seems that everybody, young and old, has some pent-up anger that makes them beat dogs. A daladala conductor hopped out of his van and kicked the bony dog next to me with all his might, launching it like a squealing bottle rocket. I exploded.
Without all of the details that might make it sound like I was about to get into a fistfight over this random violence, I was fuming. The smoking man's explanation was that dogs kill children, so I told him that, well, they might *not* were they to be treated decently and not walloped every other minute. If a group of youngsters began abusing me, I'd use my teeth, too. I told the man flatly that I will never use his vehicle again, and that I would tell all of my friends around the world to avoid him like the plague.
The moral of the story is thus: If you are ever to come to Arusha, Tanzania and need to travel between town and the suburb of Kijenge Mwanama, do not take the plain white daladala with "Chair Cab" stenciled on the side. It attacks dogs.
Thank you in advance.
Having spent about six months here, I've had a lot of time to think about what potential careers in development could look like for all sorts of students with different academic interests. I don't pretend not to cover the obvious ones, but I hope that there's an innovative thought or two in the rest. I hope these thoughts encourage all of you considering a development career (and even those who haven't yet): the need for compassionate and dedicated individuals is great everywhere, and I've found the rewards commensurate to that need.
You have three options for continuing your education: medical school, a laboratory research doctorate, or public health school. All three can be tied into global problems.
Becoming a doctor allows you to extend inexpensive medical services around the world to people needing general care. Training for tropical medicine takes a slightly different path, though the necessary experience can come even after being in practice for years.
At the Old Arusha Private Health Clinic in town, I met a doctor who decided with his wife to liquidate their assets, sell their house, everything inside it, and the southern California plot it sat on in order to start a rural health clinic near Arusha. After six months of searching for somewhere with enough infrastructure (i.e. running water), they settled on a plot northeast of town near Mkoaranga, the orphanage that we visit twice per month. Their money represents a great fortune here that will surely stock the clinic with all the right equipment. If you'd rather not settle down, you can travel around the world with Doctors Without Borders, providing care in the neediest corners of the globe.
Lab research seems depressingly separate from addressing pressing public problems. But where would we be right now were scientists to have neglected non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, protease inhibitors, fusion inhibitors, and the other types of anti-retroviral drugs targeting HIV? Scientists have great power to solve social problems when their talents are coupled with mindful and moral management. Drugs can be produced that save people's lives. The world is full of scientists clever enough to defeat this virus, just as others have eliminated smallpox and polio.
It is quickly apparent that public health experts are needed to tie all of these resources together. Especially with interdisciplinary management skills, these thinkers can channel the individual power of doctors and scientists into coordinated regional policies that attack the broadest face of the problem. Many public health experts were consulted when Tanzania created its national policy on HIV, the policy that our organization now uses as guidelines for its teaching in schools. Well-run public health schemes can bring public, private and nonprofit forces together in synergy to address pressing problems. Paul Farmer, for example, has become famous for researching Directly Observed Therapy (DOT-Heart) as a treatment regimen for the thousands of people in Haiti infected with tuberculosis. With high enough compliance rates of patients taking their medicine, the entire society can avoid developing drug resistance without great risk. As a public health expert, he devised this innovative scheme that both creates jobs and raises the efficacy of TB treatment in the community; his model has been used to establish similar programs globally.
I could make good money stopping my education this instant and selling my services to various businesses around town with poorly translated English menus. Even at $10 or $20 a pop, I could live for at least a year on Arusha's restaurants alone. I don't even need an English degree for that.
To author public policy reports for the many international organizations with branches in Dar es Salaam, however, you should probably have an English degree. Often times, such writers are not even required to speak the local language. Along a similar vein, your writing skills would be heavily desired by almost any nonprofit looking to obtain international funds. Grant writing is a distressing and competitive business requiring both style and substance; courses should have covered both of these at length. Effective authors can almost single-handedly channel money from the pools of the developed world to the pails of the undeveloped. A powerful trade when drops go so much further in the pail.
Just as English majors can find different types of work based upon their interest in the nonprofit world, so can foreign language majors. Becoming fluent in a foreign language often offers the side benefit of learning the tricks of the trade to teaching one. Having studied a handful of different tongues, I have picked up the habits of effective language teachers that can help students learn significantly quicker. With a quick, inexpensive study of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Exam, you can get certified as an international English teacher and put those skills to work. Some would prefer offering private lessons to executives in the capital. Others could teach English in primary or secondary schools or through affordable private language centers. A person who knows English has a considerable advantage in the job market.
Teachers in American public schools earn little money and much criticism, whether from administrators or from parents. The fact that they are trying to extend their knowledge to others is often forgotten. In Tanzania, few things earn you more respect than being a teacher. Secondary schools would surely be tickled to have native English speakers teaching their English classes; even headmasters would be proud when their graduates received the highest marks on the difficult English exams. As I mentioned for many other majors, there is always room in the ranks for educators. The only difference is that you have been academically trained to do it best.
Political scientists and economists control the world, if you ask me. Administrators and bureaucrats almost inevitably resist change out of personal interest in their own job security. Change attracts attention, attention begets review, and review is dangerous. Having political scientists around can help cut through that governmental muck that stalls the work of the public health experts.
Think tanks, which employ political science-types in droves, also play a role in the shaping of statewide policies. Pertinent, timely analysis from credible sources can provide a strong lobby for certain changes. Scoping the details of any national policy always involves political scientists, who are in the business of predicting mass behavior. With political scientists involved in the developing world, whether local Tanzanians or experts brought from abroad, the changing needs of the population can at least be brought to light. Add luck and reports from think tanks and the might of the nation may bring itself to bear upon them.
Economics & Business
About controlling the world ever thought about how much power Alan Greenspan holds as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve? I can imagine his thoughts lying in bed at night: "Expand or contract? Speed up or slow down? I've always loved the quarter-point reduction hmm, maybe I'll just decide over breakfast tomorrow." The American economy is one fantastic engine for the world economy, putting Greenspan's interest rate decisions roughly on par with the price of oil in terms of global economic growth. And that price takes the input of the entire cartel of OPEC.
Business and economics majors are wanted by large financial firms for strategic planning, by international organizations for research, by non-profits for accounting and development of moneymaking operations, and by entrepreneurs for help implementing their endless schemes. As a national education minister, I would certainly want your help planning the most cost-effective ways to increase school quality. Same goes for public health plans, environmental projects, or urban development. If you're an economics expert, you have the power of an attentive audience: You will surely be asked for your opinion.
Remember this: Everything you learn about perfect competition and preference curves may seem otherworldly in developing countries, but it remains an economic background that shapes your decision-making abilities and your perception of the nature of social problems.
One of my old teaching partners was an education major at the U of A. She graduated and came to Tanzania to teach immediately afterward, not knowing what she would do upon her return. After volunteering she instead decided to stay here for a year and a half teaching at a local private English school, St. Jude's. She's happier than she could have imagined. And, quite frankly, she wouldn't have needed to be a teacher in the first place—that merely sped up the hiring to a two-day turnaround.
Despite the fact that chemistry majors can try to discover more efficient ways to create solar power and biology majors better techniques for rural farming fertilization, anybody from any major is always welcomed as a potential teacher in developing countries. Since I can understand if you would rather not slave away over experiments, let me say that there's no wasting of talent when you turn your deep scientific knowledge into a pertinent curriculum for third graders wanting to learn about the world around them. Everybody remembers the day in high school chemistry when the teacher lit scarlet, yellow, blue, copper, and green flames with a low-molar dissolved metal solution. Science can spark kids' interest in problem solving and the whys of life, curiosity that feeds into all different types of learning. Chemists just get to be magicians.