Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy Friday to you!

You could knit mighty matters out of books
So up and tell a story, by cock's bones!
-Chaucer, The Parson's Tale

Hey friends!! I dont have any stories to tell, but I am delighted to inform you that its Friday! I hope you are enjoying the beginning of your weekend. I have one more class still today--a joint lecture series course where a different professor presents each week in regards to his or her area of research relating to African Studies. My favorite Professor is presenting tonight about the history of missions in Africa and the many ways that missionaries have contributed to knowledge in many "secular" realms through their work and writings. Professor Harries is from South Africa, and teaches both my lecture course on the history of labor in South Africa as well as the seminar on land reform history. In land reform, I am breaking one of my cardinal rules this semester. If I am expected to do a presentation in a course, I usually make every effort to avoid the area of the professor's particular interest or expertise. This time, however, other people took the topics I wanted before I voiced my preference, so I will be researching and presenting about a group of South African people called the Makuleke who were removed from their land in the Kruger National Park during Apartheid segregation, and then were the first to get their land back under land restitution after apartheid. Sounds great, except that my professor was personally involved with uncovering the fact that these people were being forcibly relocated, and the process of restitution. That doesn't bode well for my presentation grade, I think. =)

In a different class, the guided city tour course that I mentioned before, I will also be researching the history of the Basel mission. It has actually worked out rather nicely that I ended up here in Basel. The history of Christianity and missions in the 19th and 20th centuries has always been interesting, and here I have the Basel Mission archives just up the street and complete freedom to go read about anything I want. Then, besides that library, there is also the Basel Africa Bibliographien, with all kinds of resources and archives on Namibia especially plus other Southern African countries. Fun, huh?! Since we are talking about classes, mom, I just wanted to say thank you for teaching me about things like biology classification, abiotics, weather patterns, soil types and scientific process when I was in grade school. Ecology and epidemiology are making perfectly good sense to me, while some of my classmates (even some native English speakers!) are bewildered half the time.

In other news, tonight I am going to a party at a classmate's house. This is the guy from Egypt, and he is throwing the party in celebration of the end of the month of Ramadan. All the students in our department are invited, and, while I am usually a bit grumpy on Friday because of having class until 6 pm, and I am not overly excited about spending the evening with all my classmates, I am going anyway. I figure if I am going to spend 2 years with these people, I should make every effort to get to know them and accept hospitality, or else I will soon find myself excluded from invitations. And I'm sure I will have an ok time and will be glad I went. Tomorrow my land lady and her son get back from vacation, so the big wait for Internet at home is almost over!!! Hopefully I will have it this week or next the latest. Okiedokie, gotta go to class.

Talk to y'all soon.

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