Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Contemplating new adventures

Yesterday was an excellent day. The final step in the loan processing finally happened, so we should settle sometime this week. And we had a very encouraging conversation with a builder in North Carolina. It's looking like the integrity of the house design we labored over with Dale in Delaware actually can be maintained within our budget after all, if we drop a few truly extraneous bells and whistles and can do some of the labor ourselves, such as build the deck. (That'll be fun!) Suddenly it feels OK again to make a few plans. We're headed back to NC at the end of the month to have a conversation with yet another promising builder, and we're starting the bidding process on the land in the picture up at the top. The last piece of the puzzle will be results of the house appraisal we had done last week.

So today I contemplate my "job." The e-zine I'm supposed to be writing for, Peace Corps Worldwide, is finally up and running--and it's turned into a collection of blogs! So now I'll be writing two blogs, but they'll be different. The one for the Peace Corps will be only sporadic, and more topical than what I usually do here. But the reason I'm not more topical here is not because I don't want to be topical; it's because issues that are "burning" for so many blogosphere bloviators seldom get me running to the point of having anything interesting to say about them. (And of course, bloviation is never my purpose for writing anything at all...)

On the other hand, I do work well "on assignment." Even though Peace Corps Worldwide took me on basically to fill the "gay Peace Corps" niche, I'm not bound to stick with only "gay" or only "Peace Corps"--the fact that whatever I say comes through my personal prism will apparently suffice.

So here's a request. Is there anything you're interested in that you'd like me to write about? Or that you think I should write about? I'm serious. I need some ideas. I've already covered gay marriage here and will write about it at the other site, but otherwise I'm coming up empty. I realize this is a stab in the dark and requests for specific responses here seldom bear fruit, but what the hey....I work so much better when another brain is consorting with mine.....

9 comments:

Nan said...

Yes! Good news on the NC plans!

Ideas for the other blog . . . I think it would be interesting to speculate how today's generation of Peace Corp volunteers might adjust to different levels of technology elsewhere in the world. What role does the iPod play? Can you talk about your connection to music (as a symbol of home versus the new you discover?) then and think about what it would be now? How do we think about community? How has that changed with technology? I think you could construct an interesting post or two on different levels - metaphorical and actual. Just my first thought.

Ralph said...

Fertile ground, Nan, and these are things I've thought about often. How technology has changed the function of the family is actually a hot topic among those of us who were PCVs before the cellphone revolution. This is great. I took notes. Thanks!

Linda - SE PA said...

Hi Ralph,

First I am glad to hear that your VA house project has moved along at a nice clip... Continuing to hold positive thoughts that all goes continues to go well with NC! It is much like any negotiation - always leave something for elimination and then something for negotiation.

My thoughts for an article is how the PCV's can bridge/eliminate divisiness. Also, to build on the technology aspect - how the technology can best be communicated in areas where a cell phone would be an unheard of luxury for the residents of the area.

Ralph said...

Hi, Linda. Here's what's really interesting about cellphones: if they've revolutionized American communication ability, they've brought the developing world literally into the 21st century with a jolt. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, people who live in the most primitive mud huts have cellphones now. The reason? No infrastructure necessary. No wires, no switching stations, virtually no highly trained personnel. Just some towers. Cellphones have allowed small business people to get together and compare notes and inventories in ways unimagined 20 years ago, for a small example. The cellphone in the developing world is the rare western tech toy that isn't viewed with jealousy by the locals, that volunteers don't have to feel guilty about using. Everybody has one!

Zoey and Me said...

I don't know how you could write about it but a week ago I told this doctor who retired from the D.C. area that I was a Peace Corps Dad, we held hands with other Moms and Dads whose kids were also in Zimbabwe. He told me that in the past five years young women in the Peace Corps are experiencing a higher than normal abortion rate. That rather shocked me. In this day and age, isn't the Peace Corps giving these kids birth control? My God. He said, "they're packing them in at GW Hospital in downtown". I think that would be an important article or maybe take the approach of an investigative piece. I really was shocked to hear that.

Ralph said...

Interesting, Z&M. Yes, Peace Corps supplies condoms and if women are on the pill, they're certainly encurage to continue it. PC can't by law pay for abortions, but they counsel pregnant volunteers and if they decide to abort, PC will refer them to MDs. I'd like to find out more about the pregnancy rate--if it's anecdotal or it's really higher. I have a good friend who was in the medical office who may still have her finger on the pulse...

Zoey and Me said...

It might be the kind of piece that Peace Corps would copy and give out to female volunteers. I would think of it in that slant. Stir the pot over at the worldwide blog but make it available to PC personnel. It would be helpful, I'm sure.

Mim said...

Good to hear about positive possiblities on your NC site and plans. Maybe just maybe...
As far as your writing about PC.
You have a skill in drawing us in when you describe the life as as PC person and how that has contributed to who you are now. You know those connections with doing and being for others.Looking forward to reading that blog too.

Ralph said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Mim! As long as I can keep it fresh by not doing it daily....