Tag Archives: Africa

Being Modern without being Western…is it possible? – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Being Modern without being Western…is it possible? – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_cuisine#/media/File:Alicha_1.jpg]

A common issue that most developing, non-Western countries are grappling with is finding a way to incorporate the current sense we have of “modernity” into everyday life without losing the very distinctly non-Western identity they have. Since “modern” has become synonymous with Western, it is difficult to distinguish what is fundamentally culture and what is necessary for development. So is it possible for these non Western countries to design their development trajectory so that it includes all the economic, technological and political progress without adopting the actual cultural-ideological systems in which they exist in the West?

There is evidence that would suggest that both options are plausible and currently occurring around the world. Through the influences of media (mainly Hollywood and the internet) and the dominating political and economic forces of the United States and the European Union most other countries are left with an overwhelming pressure to conform to the Western mode of existence. On a larger scale we see that some of these countries, especially those that have been colonized, even from conception had the idea of nation states and borders (in the sense that we think of them now) imposed upon them. The political and economic models adopted (and encouraged through targeted aid and international organizations) by these countries to survive in a world where they had no time to orient themselves took away their ability to organically and naturally work through the needs of their society and establish a system that can function with their many unique cultures. Not only does this process of global imperialism have the power to affect the way people in these countries live their everyday lives (what language they learn, the role models they look up to), but it can also be seen as a possible cause for the constant state of chaos most of these countries seem to be stuck in.

On a smaller scale we can also see people from these countries (especially the youth) immersing themselves in Western popular culture and in some ways ignoring/forgetting the rich and beautiful ones they have so close to them. Global popular media, by setting so called trends and the scars of colonization that have caused a deep and internalized inferiority complex within people come together to create the seductive attraction to the West people seem to experience. Of course the lack of comprehensive understanding of their own culture (which might not necessarily be their fault), the Western culture and history can feed into the choices made by people. If people and especially the youth seem to be moving in this direction, are we then in danger of losing these precious cultures?

On the opposite end we find a country like China that has been trying very hard to reject westernized models and ideas and have been relatively successful, although the economic and social sectors are less so. All of this, of course does not mean to imply that the people in the West have not been affected (although on a smaller scale) by the rest of the world in different realms of their life. In the increasingly globalized world we live in today it is almost impossible to have a country that is not somehow influenced by the foreign nations (North Korea might be a peculiar exception).

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habesha_kemis#/media/File:Habesha_woman-b.jpg]

The answer for developing countries that are dealing with globalization and the other global imperial and colonial forces mentioned above does not involve figuring out a way to completely isolate and preserve cultures as they are, but finding a way to incorporate certain ideas and concepts without completely abandoning their own identities. We can find examples of this happening in different countries as well. In Ethiopia for instance there have been movements in the fashion industry to integrate traditional clothing with western fashion trends. They use the same fabric/patterns and design them to also follow popular fashion trends. Another simple example would be the way we eat. Traditionally everyone at the table would eat from one big plate, but now it is more common to eat from individual plates. All of our food is eaten by hand; that is something that has not changed. Large scale changes in our political and economic systems will be very difficult, but if the state is anything like the individual (Plato’s philosophy) we know that it is possible.

Eleni serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Eleni Birhane, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Zimbabwe – Home is Where the Heart Is – Reflections of a scholarly traveler – by Malvern Madondo. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Zimbabwe – Home is Where the Heart Is – Reflections of a scholarly traveler – by Malvern Madondo. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to see the ways that you yourself have changed.” – Nelson Mandela

It was early December, two weeks before final exams and a week before my long flight back to Zimbabwe. I was going home for the first time since coming to the US to commence my first year studies. I was leaving a week before finals. International flights close to major holidays like Christmas are very expensive; I had booked my flight late enough so that I could take my exams, but early enough so that the prices wouldn’t be exorbitant. Anxiety and stress became me, yet there was the promise of going home. Home.

I remember feeling quite relieved when I submitted my last project and bade farewell to friends gliding in the hallways and tunnels leading to the library, chasing after grades and trying their best to prevent their GPA from nose-diving to a bare minimum. Only a few understood why I would be leaving so soon or why I would be traveling so far. My journey was 3 days long, including multiple stops in 3 different countries. Multiple stops, the ultimate price for a cheap flight.

I can think of several reasons why I needed to go home. To get away from everything. To find myself. To be with company and not feel alone or lonely as I often did at school. To be with family. To find motivation. To … I had been away for 16 months and that might seem too long for those who families live close enough to visit often. It may also seem too short for those who have had to be away for decades. Each person is different and has a different narrative. After 16 months of trying to acclimatize to the US culture, trying to stay afloat and at my best in my academics and other aspects of life, I welcomed the opportunity to go home as the biblical prodigal son was welcomed by his father.

I remember feeling quite overwhelmed when I approached the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The plane was humongous and I was glad I only had one person to my left and a window and the rest of the world to my right. In due time we departed and the airport, at first, became blurry lines of light as the jet sped by, and then became an eclipse of the night and the endless lights surrounding. I will not talk about the rest of my journey, for it might require more space than I have here. However, three days and 2 nights later, I arrived home.

I arrived home weary and smelly-sort-of. Bathing is a luxury on a long flight to a distant corner of the world. I was also missing my entire luggage save my carryon and backpack. Lost in transit, my bags arrived a couple days later, thankfully, and looking like they had survived a massive fight. Never buy a beautiful luggage piece when traveling trans-oceanic, always go for the strongest. There was no welcoming party at the airport when I arrived at noon, on the third day after leaving the US. My brother-in-law was there to pick me up, and I had no strength to explain why I only had a carryon and a backpack. In Zimbabwe, often a lot is expected from one who has been away, especially coming from THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I felt like a tourist, coming from the airport and passing through the city center, towards home, on the edge of the town. First, I was impressed by the infrastructure and the surroundings that gave one high hopes for better. But my family’s home is far enough to reward one with a sight that will remind you ‘never to judge a book by its cover’ or to trust in first impressions.The wide tarred roads leading from the airport became thinner and by the time we reached home, they had almost disappeared. Street lights dwindled and massive buildings were replaced by shacks that hung on the edge of the road like a leech. But I was home. No assignments, exams, late night studying, club meetings, and whatever was norm in college. I was free!

Part 2

Home sweet home!

The first few days at home were a brutal reminder that life is too short. The house itself looked the same. The people were the same, only a bit older. The neighborhood kids still came out to play on the streets and anywhere else that provided enough space for whatever game the young ones set their young and green minds on. The old friend with stellar grades, who could not go beyond high school because there were no funds to further his education in college, was still there, sitting at the same verandah watching the world fleet by, one day at a time – a slow burning candle life was. The girl next door had gotten married and was living in another country.

The friend across the street was still running his barber shop, and had moved to a different location in the same street after a dispute on rental payments. My father had grown older and less mobile. Sadness. Why had I left? My younger brothers were still mischievous but had acquired some bit of responsibility and ‘wokeness’. My sister still ran the show and was the oil that made this old engine, our house, operational. My older brother was still short of a job and was contracting elsewhere within his trade as an electrician. My older sister was doing quite well, only she had grown a little unhappy with her job in the heart of the town at the Meteorology Department.

There were still water shortages and once or twice a week, my brothers and I had to wander off in search of a borehole to replenish our water supply at home. My brothers knew all the places close by and would often make a couple trips and save me the trouble to meet old friends who often had one too many questions on where I had been for the past year and a half. In a broken society, no one really announces what they have under their sleeve, best for one to mind one’s own business. The week leading to New Year saw me meeting with some friends from high school and some family members. They observed I had gotten lighter and heavier for a kid from the ghetto. What more with my beard and scruffy hair, I looked older! My skin tone had lost the symptoms of one growing up in the high density suburbs of Harare where each day was a struggle and the next meal was a blessing for some and a luxury for others. At Christmas, my family, as per our tradition, all convened at my father’s house and we had a hearty lunch and luckily my luggage had finally made it home on its own and I was able to share the little I had brought along with me from discounts at Kohl’s and Target. Heavenly bliss.

A Christmas meal in the Madondo household.

My family and I stayed up late on the last day of 2016, to welcome the New Year and whatever opportunities and blessings it brought. It did not rain that night, it poured. Despite this, the dark night was constantly made bright by excessive fireworks and the pit-pattering of rain on the asbestos roof was silenced by the celebratory screams and whistles that emanated from various homes and buildings in the area. The following day, at church, smiles were wider than usual and the people, more friendlier than normal. Some were eager to start working on their New Year’s resolutions and those of us who do not take such a tradition seriously due to several failed attempts, looked on in amusement. I only had a couple more weeks at home before I had to return to school. Within a few days, I made the trip to my town of birth to visit my aunt and her family and then onwards to visit my grandfather who lived alone and away from the bright lights and loud noises and general business of town life. Those few days I spent with this part of my family evoked a strong feeling in me that reminded me that nothing compares to home. Seeing my aunt and all that she was doing for her children and family, I was reminded that women are indeed the backbone of the family and I was inspired to do better in all my endeavors. My grandfather, now older and smaller in stature, was a delight to meet and spend the day with. Sadly, because he lived so far out of town and I was commuting to his residence with my brothers, it took longer to get there than the time we spent together. Nonetheless, after he recognized us and had a brief moment of disbelief and to thank his ancestors and God and all those gone before us who had led us to him and granted us to meet once more. It was a sad joyful moment that I think deserves a separate account of its own to justify its worth.

The days following went by pretty fast and I was gearing to say goodbye once more to my family and everything that I had known for a good part of my life. Also, I was getting back to school a few days after class started (remember I left a week before the semester ended). I had enjoyed a full month away from school and the fast-paced Western life. I felt quite empty and remorse for going back. I knew I had to, only part of me wanted to stay. For better or for worse, I was getting back on the Presidential Inauguration day and as expected, I was quite shifty and nervous as I trailed the line (queue) at the airport, waiting for my turn to go through TSA. As the Border Control officer went through my documents, I felt as if I was a criminal waiting conviction and a bit like my life was outside my control. I even feared for the wrinkle at the corner of my I-20!

Finally, I boarded the shuttle headed from the airport to Duluth, the end of the road. This time, my luggage was in place and I had this air of one who has survived a storm. I assured my family I had arrive back safe and that I had the weekend to catch up with a week’s worth of schoolwork. I arrived on a Friday and I had an early morning shift at the Help Desk where I worked. I had also managed to submit an application for a scholarship moments after I landed at the airport and was connected to endless wifi and in sync with the time zone. Home sweet home.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Book Review: Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Book Review: Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History. Trevor Getz and Liz Clarke. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 9780199844395

[image of book cover from Oxford University Press, see: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/abina-and-the-important-men-9780190238742?cc=us&lang=en& ]

An unfortunate consequence of the “age of information” we live in is that people’s attention spans and tolerance for long readings has shortened significantly. Graphic histories such as Abina and the Important Men might be a new trend in the academic world as an answer to this phenomena.

Abina and the Important Men is a relatively short graphic history that depicts a brief period of time in 1876, Gold Coast of West Africa (present day southern Ghana). It is non-fictional historical study based on an interpretation of a court case transcript found in the historical archives of the country. The book was written by Trevor Getz, a historian and author and Liz Clarke, a graphic artist and illustrator. There are five parts to the book; in the first part, with the help of graphic illustrations we are taken through the story of how Abina Mansah charged Quamina Eddoo, an important and wealthy man in the Gold Coast, with the crime of having kept her as a slave. At the time the Gold Coast was under the British colony and was subject to British laws, which prohibited slavery. Although Abina was unsuccessful in the end, the story brings to light issues such as the balance between justice and “keeping the peace” and the conception of slavery and rights at the time.

The authors did a good job in providing context and illustrating the validity of the story of Abina. The second part of the book provides the actual words written in their primary evidence (the transcript). This allows the reader to make interpretations his/her own and decide if the authors presented a legitimate one. The third part gives a thorough context to the story by providing information about the early history of the Gold Coast, including its inhabitants and various leaders. It familiarises the reader on the practice of slavery both in the Gold Coast and in the broader world at the time and gives further descriptions of the specific people in the story (from what is found in other historical documents and oral histories). Finally in the fourth part, the authors engage in explaining the process through which they came to their interpretation of the text. They do this by providing philosophical, ethical and methodological answers to the questions “Whose story is this? Is it a true story? Is it an authentic story?” in three levels of complexity.

Multiple times within the book the authors mention the reason behind their efforts towards this project; they wanted to bring to light a part of history that had been forgotten and ignored by historians and use it to bring more insight towards the lives of the people. The book did just that. It created a way in which the reader could really understand that period in time. It allowed the reader to connect with Abina and understand her struggles in the context of where and when she lived. Unlike most history books that simply state names, dates and events this one encourages the reader to look beyond and explore the real lives of people we study.

The fifth part of the book deals specifically with how to utilize the book in a classroom setting. It explores different facets of the story and how it might apply to different studies like Africa, gender and slavery. It even has a list of reading questions designed for students at different levels (high school, college and advanced undergraduate and graduate students). Depending on how deeply and focused (towards a certain topic) one is when reading the book, it can be used to examine a multitude of issues in a historical context. It is, of course based on primary material that covers a very short amount of time and a limited area in history so the text might not be as useful for studies with a broader scope.

Abina and the Important Men is the first of its kind and shows a promising future for similar texts. It utilizes real historical evidence and comes up with a way to convey history in a more approachable and relatable manner. Its breakdown simplifies the process of understanding history and its ramifications.

Eleni serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Dominican Republic – Friendship Across National Borders – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Dominican Republic – Friendship Across National Borders – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

elenidr1

I met my now very dear friend Diana at the beginning of fall semester 2016. Almost instantly we became close; both of us wondered why we had not been friends until then. Not even half way through the semester, Diana suggested I go to the Dominican Republic with her to visit her family. I immediately accepted, how could I refuse such an offer! Once I had made the arrangements, she informed her family that I would be joining her on her trip for winter break. She told me that they were all happy and excited that I was coming. I knew that if they were anything like her (she stressed that they were) they would be extremely welcoming and hospitable, so I had no worries.

elenidr2

My stay at the Dominican Republic was one I am not likely to ever forget. From the people to the land to the culture, everything I witnessed had a beauty that I cannot easily express in writing. I was lucky enough to experience the country not only from a tourist perspective, but also through the eyes of the local residents. Diana’s family took care of me as one of their own. Even though there was a language barrier between us (I speak almost no Spanish), I realized that if there is enough will and maybe a little help from the notoriously misleading, but undoubtedly helpful Google Translate, people from very different places and dialects can get along and even care for each other.

Other than being a much needed break from school and work, my stay at the Dominican Republic was also an informative experience. I learned a lot about the people’s culture, how laid back yet hardworking they are. I learned about the dynamics of their politics and their somewhat tense relationship with their only other neighbor on the island they share, the nation of Haiti. I learned that no matter how much I ate, Diana’s grandmother and aunt would never truly believe I was full. I enjoyed observing the similarities and differences between the Dominican Republic and my own home country Ethiopia.

Overall, by the time I had to leave I was feeling very down. I had come to truly care for her family as I believe they did for me. I know I have made friends for life and have promised myself (and them) I would come back when I could. I am very grateful I got the chance to have this experience. I encourage people to take any chance they get to travel and explore the world no matter how close or far, there might be something beautiful waiting just around the corner.

elenidr3

Eleni serves as an editor for The NSR

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Global Friendship, Love Across Borders – by Shivani Singh. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Global Friendship, Love Across Borders – by Shivani Singh. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

shivani1

Welcome! Witaj! Enkua Dena Metachu! Mauya! Swagat Hai! Bienvenido! Laskavo Prosymo! And more warm greetings from new faces and cultures. A year ago when I first came to the United States, just like many of my fellow International students, there was a lot to process. It took a while to let this new culture and atmosphere sink in, but eventually we all got along. It’s crazy how unfamiliar faces become family, how strangers become support systems, how the discomfort of feeling out of place comes together to form a place of its own, and how International students become the ‘International squad’ in a matter of just a couple days.

I remember the first few days during orientation with students from Colombia, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Poland, Slovakia, Zimbabwe, and many other countries cramped up in a single room. The Director of International Programs – Alison Champeaux guided us through the basics and realities of living in a completely alien country (at least for most of us) and making the best out of it. I still remember how a year ago, there was uncertainty lingering in the back of our minds when all of us were trying to befriend and start a conversation with each other. Trying to figure out what was appropriate and what was bothersome, to not hurt anyone’s feelings but also try to woo them. It was all brand new. How we involuntarily hung out, planned things, took classes together and helped out each other. And within no time, between shady puns and lame jokes…a family emerged.

Today, when I sit with my roommates Yabi (Ethiopia), Basia (Poland), and Laura (Colombia) to look back and think about those times, a nostalgic smirk appears on all of our faces. How instantly our individual discomfort was creating a sense of comfort for us collectively, how our issues and queries were closely related and most of them were even similar. We all came in with distinct schedules, meal times, gestures, and understanding of relationships. For instance, back home for most of us, a professor-student relationship is extremely formal and doesn’t normally extend outside the classroom. One could hardly built a friendly and more than just an innate classroom connection with the professor. But here, in the USA, you can talk quite openly to your teachers and in addition to that you can (sometimes are even expected to) be on first name basis with most of your teachers and other elderly. A lot of social stigmas were different as compared to where we came from. The concept of ‘tipping’ was absolutely new to us all (me, Basia, Yabi, and Laura). The first time we went to eat dinner at Green Mill, and the check was put on our table, we were a little startled. But after a year of culturing ourselves in this new atmosphere, we have been able to embrace the differences with wide-open arms.

shivani2

I, personally think that all International students go through a similar phase where they figure out what to inculcate and what to neglect, what to keep and what to push away. While we are trying to do this, we built ourselves in an all-around perspective. Meeting new people, making connections, soaking in the culture, and keeping each other company through thick and thin. Since the first time we (me and my roommates) made a connection as International students, we had each other’s back. We had a supernatural feeling about trusting each other; it was strange but significantly a grand feeling. What still blows my mind is that, how the four of us being from distinct countries, even continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America) got along. We were used to a certain flavor of life, our liking for food and flavor, our habits, our sleep schedules, our customs, our rituals, our religions, our sense of styling, our definitions of beauty, every little thing was distinct. Somehow, this distinction acted like glue and we were stuck together! We got accustomed to each other, shared our beliefs, (being girls) we even shared our secrets. Introduced each other to our families over Skype, and our families to each other. It was quite overwhelming at first, to accept that the four of us connected in such short span and quick enough became so close that we could not go a day without talking, hanging out, or even humiliating one another. We even participated in each other’s cultural gatherings. I, as an Indian celebrated the festival of lights “Diwali” and was accompanied by lovely girls from around the world. We all dressed in Indian attires. I explained them the meaning and significance of this festival. And we ate mouth-watering Indian food. This was the situation when none of us even lived together. We would hang out in the lounge just to be within our comfort zone, which indeed we sought with each other. Recently, this year, the four of us we moved in together and it had been an absolute blast. We have cuisine from four different continents under one roof. We take turns cooking delicacies from our respective tastes. Not only do we share food and common beliefs, and sometimes end up disagreeing with one another, but also that doesn’t stop us from being goofy just the next second. It has almost been two months since we have been living together and all we have done is nothing but, alleviate each other and help improve in all possible ways. We are sisters, friends, companions, partners, sometimes; even therapists, tutors, cuddlers and so much more.

There is nothing more I could have wished for. Finding friends who would push you toward excellence, always encourage you, support every right thing you do, and even slap and drag you on to right track if you wander off. ‘Love is rare, but true friendship is even rarer’, and I am more than privileged to have this attachment with three beautiful girls. It is not just a second home anymore; it’s rather my newfound home. We solicit repose, contentment, ease, warmth, tenderness, and endearment with each other. The feeling of solidarity, belongingness and the level comfort we seek with each other is beyond the imaginable. I found my family among these fools.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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“Brain Travel” – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

“Brain Travel” – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Over spring break I had the pleasure of going home and relaxing with friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed the time and the relaxation that was available because of the break from school. Once I was home however I took a few journeys. First I went to India to view the vibrant colors and smell wonderful smells. I was surrounded by thousands and millions of people speaking many languages and practicing many faiths. I experienced conflict while I was there. Religious and political infighting that lead to confusion and violence.

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Photo courtesy of NSR editor Jenna Algoo

After India I traveled to the deserts of North Africa and the jungles of Southeast Asia. I walked across sand dunes and rode donkeys as well as camels. The great sea of sand spread out and covered all the eye could see except a distant oasis that my party and I tried in vain to reach. The heat of the day was oppressive, while the cold of the night chilled me to my bones despite layers of blankets.

The jungle of Southeast Asia were a drastic difference to the dry heat of the desert. The same groups I was with in the desert searching desperately for was now surrounded by water. The very air seemed saturated with water it was so humid. Small creeks turned into rushing rivers with even the slightest of rains. Vines trapped friends and comrades as they walked. The vast expanse of land and sky in the desert was much wanted when trapped under triple canopy jungle where even night did not bring relief from the heat.

Though these travels seem far-fetched and impossible I did indeed travel to all of these places over a short spring break week. Books enabled me to see these sights, smell those smells, and feel those feelings. Through literature and a decent imagination I was able to travel halfway across the world and back. Reading can bring people to other parts of the world and enable them to begin to understand other cultures and people through reading.

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Photo courtesy of NSR editor Jenna Algoo

Undoubtedly, traveling to these places in person would give a whole new level of depth and experience than reading about them in books. The experiences people have in both study abroad and tourist travels as well as any other travels have huge benefits! The flip side of this coin is that experiencing other parts of the world, or different cultures, through reading can open a person’s mind to a world they would otherwise not have had the time or ability to learn about. The experiences I had and the knowledge I gained through reading is beyond measure. I have never set foot in India or Morocco or Vietnam, but I have had the ability to learn and gain some experience of what it would be like to be through the beautiful and descriptive writings of others.

The emphasis that has been placed upon hands-on experiential learning and study abroad are wonderful, but that emphasis should not detract from what reading can provide. Students, scholars, tourists, and everybody in between can learn about other people and cultures from reading. That idea is what made National Geographic great. I am sure that all of you who read this have been shown a whole new world, real or fictitious, through reading. This can be Harry Potter or historical novels on the partition of India. Either way the world is created by your mind with the help of an author. This does not mean it is not a great experience or learning tool, on the contrary, it can be just as important as traveling and the cost as well as availability of books is much less than plane tickets and hotel rooms. Hands on learning is important, but experiencing a world in your own mind using literature can be just as beneficial if one is only willing to take the time to sit down with a good book.

Matthew Breeze serves as social media editor for The North Star Reports

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Tanzania – Service Learning – by Paul Schulzetenberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Tanzania – Service Learning – by Paul Schulzetenberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to photographer Adam Bridge for the permission to use his photos for photos # 1 and 4.

That might be kilograms?

That might be kilograms?

[Photo #1 caption: Me with Emanueli, the head baker. He was telling me how much flour I needed to weigh out.]

During the “service learning” part of the trip, several other students, a professor, the photographer, and I were sent to the Chipole monastary. We remained in Chipole for two weeks participating in service learning as well as getting to know the people we came into contact with. For this report, I would like to discuss the concept a service learning a bit and some thoughts about my own experience with service learning and my current perspective.

I was thinking about this a lot while I was there and questioning what exactly I was doing and what the point of this trip was. What does service learning mean? We had discussed this prior to going to Tanzania; however, what was really bothering me was that I did not know what service I would be providing, or if it would be useful to them. For one, I was not providing any sort of unique or specialized service that they lacked. For instance, I was not a nurse, so I could not help much in the dispensary. In fact, I was completely uneducated with regards to most of the tasks that they did, and they were actually teaching me, which I had no problem with by the way. That is a part of service learning: learning through participating in their way of life. What I was really pondering was if I was actually doing them more of a disservice by being there because they had to “train me in” per say, but maybe that is the point. I kept questioning myself and wondering if I was providing services in order to simply broaden my view of the world (a potentially selfish endeavor), or if I was actually positively contributing to their life. I did not want to have a job in which my contribution was unhelpful and was not up to par with their standards. The point was not to “feel good” about what I did, but to feel as though I am contributing positively in some aspect of their life.

Photo #2

[Photo #2 caption: Cakes getting ready to be baked. We had to make the batter, grease the pans, and pour the batter into them. I spent a lot of time at this table doing a wide variety of tasks.]

It is important to mention I fully recognized I was not there to impose my will on to them nor was I there to “teach” them; I was there to learn through service. I always tried to keep in mind that just because I do things differently than they do does not make my way correct or better than theirs. It is easy to get into that mindset sometimes, and the more I kept that in mind, the more I learned. I was there to experience how they do things and what their methods are. The issue that I was running against, however, was if the service I was providing to them was actually beneficial or if it was a hindrance to them. I had no intention of trying to “teach them my ways;” I just wished I had more to offer other than my willingness to work and a functioning body to perform tasks.

For instance, a majority of my time was spent in the monastery bakery learning how to bake various sorts of breads, cakes, and cookies. It was a great experience, and I have some awesome memories as a result. However, the baker, Emanueli and the other workers (mostly postulates), had to take time out of their workday to teach me how to make the various types of dough and batter, and to teach me proper techniques in cutting and kneading the bread. As mentioned previously, I was always worried that I would mess something up or do something wrong. I did not want them to have redo the process because I did it wrong. Not to mention all the time spent trying to communicate as a result of the language barrier. I was completely clueless when it came to making baked goods and what the proper techniques were. Emanueli was extremely patient and one of the friendliest people that I met while I was there. I am very grateful for getting to know him and who he is as a person. I was learning their methods, and I had a lot of fun doing it. However, my contribution was simply a helping hand, and I sincerely hope that I was helpful.

Photo #3

[Photo #3 caption: This is one of the machines used for mixing. All their machines were huge and for making large amount of batter and dough. I believe most of the machinery was either made in Germany or Switzerland.]

Now, there is another side to this that I had pondered while I was there albeit a bit incompletely fleshed out. Perhaps it is not necessarily the “product” that my service provides, but the human interaction and cross-cultural connections that result from it. In other words, it is not that I am literally providing a physical service that contributes to their well-being in obvious ways. Perhaps, it has more to do with the gesture and my willingness to learn about their way of life. I do not want to say that I was “breaking down” cultural stereotypes through individual interaction. I simply mean that I think by showing that I was interested in how they do things as well as my willingness to participate and learn, it allowed for a level of communication that may be of some significance for both individuals involved. The baker was able to learn about my way of life and my beliefs to some degree, and I was able to learn a great deal about his. I showed interest in his craft, and thought of him as a teacher. Regardless, working in the bakery was a great experience. I spent a lot of time trying to communicate with Emanueli as he knew very little English and I knew very little Swahili. This was a lot of fun. Apart from the language barrier, we were able to learn about each other through hand motions and fragmented sentences.

Photo #4

[Photo #4 caption: Professor Schuettler and I at work in bakery. We were cutting small strips of dough that we then fried in sunflower oil. The machine that flattened the dough was a lot of fun to use once we got the hang of it.]

Overall, I would personally say that service learning was more of a “selfish” endeavor for me. I got to learn about a different way of life and see how they view the world, but I do not feel like I benefitted anyone. Is this a bad thing? Well, that is what I was struggling with over the course of the trip. I am sure as I think about it more, I may come up with new reasons and ideas, but that has been my general conclusion. I recognize the complexity of the situation, and that is why I think I struggle with what I interpret service learning to be. I recognize the disparities in wealth, the lack of sufficient medical care, the need for more schools, and various other social difficulties that are experienced by the people of Tanzania. With this in mind, I wonder what exactly my impact could be amidst such a broad and complex system of issues. I did not go there to fix anything; I went there to learn, and maybe I should accept my experience at face value. It was learning experience, which provided me with a true experience through my own eyes.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Tanzania – The First Week of a Month Long Experience — The North Star Reports – by Paul Schulzetenberg. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Tanzania – The First Week of a Month Long Experience — The North Star Reports – by Paul Schulzetenberg. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

paulOne1

[Photo 1: The bed I was given on arrival. The pink net is not only stylish, but keeps out mosquitos. This was my bed for the first few days.]

It’s easy to speculate about a place, and build assumptions based on what is heard on the news or read on the internet, but to actually go there and experience their way of life provides one with something much more vivid. This past summer, I traveled to Tanzania for a service learning trip through St. Scholastica. I knew very little about Tanzania, and most of the information I did know was broad generalizations about what Africa might be like, which is an extremely narrow view considering the amount of countries within Africa, and the variable “cultures” due to past historical experiences (e.g. colonialism, tribal feuds, politics, etc.). While I was only there for a month, I got to see a large portion of Tanzania, which greatly enhanced my perspective.

PaulOne2

[Photo 2: The entrance to main lobby of the hostel we stayed at.]

The trip itself was considered a service trip. The College of St. Scholastica has two sister monasteries there: one in Chipole, and the other in Imiliwaha. There were fourteen of us total: eleven students, two faculty members, and a photographer. The plan was for the group to split in half, so six went to Imiliwaha and five went to Chipole. The photographer stayed at Chipole for half of the time, and then went to Imiliwaha for the other half.

PaulOne3

[Photo 3: A decent image of the inner city of Dar Es Salaam. I chose not to take too many pictures while in the city.]

Before the actual service part, however, we did some touring of Tanzania. We got to see several different parts of the country, which also allowed us to experience multiple different aspects of their way of life. This ranged from the more rural areas to much more urban areas and places that were in between both. I found this to be an extremely valuable aspect to the experience because my understanding of their way of life was broadened and shaped by seeing these different aspects rather than just seeing one, which could potentially lead to a false or biased view. We initially stayed in Dar es Salaam, which is the capital of Tanzania. It is considered one of the more urban areas with paved roads, tall buildings, a more prominent business sector, and other aspects. However, from the cities that I have experienced, this was much different. It’s definitely more chaotic than any city I had experienced. Traffic was unbelievable, which could be explained by their lack of street signs, lights, and maybe just their worldview in general. One instance that exemplifies this was when we had driven out of the main part of Dar to go to a beach resort, and we were trying to get back before dinner. Dinner started at 7:30pm, so we gave ourselves about one hour, which is how long the trip should actually take. It took us more than two hours to get back, and we ended up being late to dinner. Luckily, we were able to eat even though we missed the actual dinnertime.

PaulOne4

[Photo 4: The bricks, which were made by hand, that will be used to build the Sr. Gaudencia’s school.]

We remained in Dar for a day or two before doing any touring, and stayed in a compound. I call it a compound because that is the most fitting description. The building was surrounded by a wall, and the only way to get in was through a gate, which was controlled by either guards (as was the case in Dar) or hired workers who I believe were stationed there 24/7. This seemed to be a common theme in all the places we stayed at, which I found interesting. A lot of the schools were also walled off. This phenomenon, from my own understanding, is a result of fear of theft and vandalism. One example was the boarding school run by the sisters in Chipole. They were trying to build a wall surrounding the school because there had been multiples cases of people sneaking into the rooms of the students and stealing their possessions. Walled off houses also represents that persons economic status. Having the ability to wall off one’s property is a luxury that many in Tanzania do not have. Regardless, this compound in Dar was essentially our home base for the first two weeks. It is important to mention that we were not “struggling” by any means. We had easy access to water, there was always food to eat, running water was available (showers, sink, and toilet), and we even had access to Wi-Fi (which was more common than I was expecting). I want to point this out because this is not a reality for many Tanzanians, and which probably skewed my experience whether I consciously noticed it or not.

PaulOne5

[Photo 5: Where the sisters stay, which is a little ways behind the area where school will be built. Most of the trees in this picture are fruit trees, which exemplify their capacity of self-sustainment.]

In these first two weeks, we would travel to various places, sometimes stay there over night, and then come back to the compound before going somewhere else. First, we went to Bagamoyo, and on the way there we went to another area on the way to see Sr. Gaudencia’s (who attended CSS and received her Masters in Education) site of her new school for children with learning and physical disabilities. The school will be the one the first or the first to do cater to children with disabilities. Here goal is to start with a kindergarten, and as she gets more money, and move incrementally to each grade. People with disabilities are extremely underrepresented in Tanzania, which probably stems from a multitude of factors.

After this, we were on the way to Bagamoyo. Historically, Bagamoyo was the original capital of Tanzania, but the capital was moved to Dar es Salaam. It was an important trading port particularly as a major slave port during the colonization of the area by Germany. We were able to go down the port and see all the ships as well as the fish market. Next, we went to the island of Zanzibar. TO BE CONTINUED…

Paul Schulzetenberg serves as The North Star Reports Assistant Editor and is a student at The College of St. Scholastica

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Morocco, Study Abroad — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Morocco, Study Abroad — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

baom6

[A shot I captured of the sunset in the desert]

Traveling the world is one of my favorite thing to do in life. I have traveled to multiple states in the U.S. and twice outside the U.S. In 2008, I was given the opportunity to travel to London for a club trip to observe the school system in London. Just recently, in December 2014, I traveled abroad to study the global business in Casablanca, Morocco with twenty students from The College of Saint Scholastica. My experience in Morocco has widened my interest on international business and how each country markets their business. During my study abroad time, I visited five major companies that were very successful in Morocco. Each company explained their main purpose as a company and how they market their business brand differently from competitors. I was also able to experience the Moroccan culture and food during my study abroad.

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[Photo of CSS students and me at the Sahara Coffee Plant in Casablanca, Morocco.]

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[Silos at Cargill in Casablanca, Morocco.]

One of my favorite company we visited was Cargill. If you don’t know, Cargill was founded in Minnesota and it’s headquarter is located in Wayzata, MN. We were given the chance to climb up the stairs in between the two big silos. The view from the top was breathtaking because you could see the whole city all at once. Furthermore, we were also able to witness all the process of how each station operated within the company to make it successful in Morocco.

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[Three CSS students and me posing in front the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.]

Another amazing site we visited was one of the largest mosques in the world, the Hassan II Mosque. The mosque is located right by the Atlantic Ocean, which creates a nice breeze throughout the mosque. We were able to go on a tour inside the mosque to see the architecture design within the building. One of my favorite things about the mosque was the way in which the carpets were laid throughout the mosque. According to our tour guide, the carpets were some of the finest in morocco and very expensive.

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[Four performers on stage playing Moroccan music.]

We got to watch multiple performances one night; a band of four performed traditional Moroccan music while belly-dancers and a magician were on stage. One thing I want to point out in this photo is the design in the back wall. These beautiful designs were on many buildings in Morocco and most of the buildings have these designs throughout the walls and the ceiling. All the designs were always amazing to look at; the pattern goes together making your eyes move throughout the whole inner structure of the building.

Lastly, for the first time in my life, I was able to experience what it was like to ride a camel and sleep in the desert overnight. This was one of my most memorable experiences on the study abroad. It was a whole new experience but also an eye-opener to how Moroccans use their environment to make business. Instead of using typical camping tents, the tents in the desert were all made of thick carpets to form a tent-like-structure. Since the temperature gets really cold at night, the thick carpets help provide warm temperature within the tent.

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[A shot I captured of CSS students watching the sunrise in the desert]

This one of the last things I experienced before my study abroad in Moroccan ended. The sunrise was breathtaking and a beautiful sight to see. All in all, there were many other events in the study abroad that I experienced but these were the main highlights of it. My experience in Morocco not only opened my knowledge on the international business but it also allowed me to see the Moroccan culture and lifestyle.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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From Zimbabwe to the United States – Thanksgiving — The North Star Reports – by Angel Nomthandazo Sibanda. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

From Zimbabwe to the United States – Thanksgiving — The North Star Reports – by Angel Nomthandazo Sibanda. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

1024px-Pumpkin-Pie-Slice[Photo credit: see — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin_pie#mediaviewer/File:Pumpkin-Pie-Slice.jpg ]

Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin spice cakes. At first, to me this seemed to be all that Thanksgiving was about.

Should I have any feelings about it? Am I weird for seeing it as any other ordinary day, and an excuse for a longer and maybe “well-deserved” break from school? These were the questions running through my mind because at home in Zimbabwe, Africa, we do not celebrate Thanksgiving. I really didn’t know what Thanksgiving was until I came here. Seeing that no one explained it to me, I decided to look it up and this is what Google had to say to me about Thanksgiving: “the expression of gratitude, especially to God” and “(in North America) an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey.” Even with these definitions I still didn’t feel excited about it. I couldn’t think of anything special that I would have been doing at this time of the year had I been at home.

With about five days of no school, I had my break planned out: two days would be just for catching up on school work and getting started on a project that was due in two weeks. The remaining three days I set aside for a lot of catching up on sleep, those movies I have been meaning to watch, a Skype date with that friend I have been meaning to talk to in a while, and finally reading that novel that had been sitting on my dresser since the beginning of the semester. Then I got invited to Thanksgiving dinner by Charmaine.* I thought to myself that I could watch a full movie or two in the time it would take, but I thought why not go and see what everyone is excited about and experience something different.

Over twenty relatives were gathered at Charmaine’s place. There was cooking and trips down memory lane as embarrassing pictures from fifteen years ago were brought out. It was then that I realized that Thanksgiving did have significance to me. Maybe in a different way, but it did. It reminded me of home and the big family gatherings we have at my grandmother’s rural homestead. The timing might be different but they are family get-togethers nonetheless. For past gatherings, I always knew we had to be up at 5:00 a.m. and make sure we kept a pot of tea brewing at all times for that uncle who had to have a cup of tea every thirty minutes or else he would have a headache. Usually we had 30-plus people attending because for my family, a family gathering did not mean just my parents, siblings, and I– it meant my cousins and aunts, uncles and great great aunts, younger grandmothers and older grandmothers. Actually, anyone from the Sibanda clan was always invited. We usually had enough food to feed an army because a goat would be slaughtered, two chickens killed, and sadza (our staple food), rice, samp and a whole lot of different foods would be cooked. This was because it is normal for my relatives after the ceremony to leave with dishes of meat, rice, or sadza to eat when they returned home. Therefore we always made enough for people to carry with them if they wanted.

Sitting there at Charmaine’s I realized that Thanksgiving reminded me of appreciating family and getting together to keep that family bond together even though we did not see each other often. I smiled remembering that whenever we had a gathering I was bound to meet a new cousin that I did not know I had. Most importantly it was always fun to sit there and listen to how our family got to be where it is today as my grandfather would tell us about the family history. I realized that those gatherings were in a way thanksgiving to me because we got the chance to appreciate each other and “express gratitude.”

*not her real name


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

For all of the North Star Reports, see http://NorthStarReports.org See also, http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports will share essays from our student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports. The NSR is co-sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open-access policy. K-12 teachers, please contact the chief editor if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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