I am very much connected to people and places outside my immediate setting…so are most of the people who share the planet. For instance: my clothing is not made in Iowa or Wisconsin, though the prints may be processed here. The ink, pens, computer parts, and Internet router parts that make my posts happen didn’t come from the farm on which I grew up. While I’m at camp and Luther, even most of my food doesn’t come from my immediate context. I have friends spread across the world and the United States, and with the personal ties to these people and cultures, I care deeply about the politics, agriculture, the general well-being of places away from my person. Thus, I want to keep abreast of world news.
I live at camp or at a residential college: in both places my focus must be rather myopic in scope – I must be focused on my present circumstances. My focus and all of my energy MUST be on my campers, my co-guide, my co-staff, and myself for our community to enrich the lives of our campers in the expected manners. My co-staff and I are expected to be present to each other and to ourselves, be intentional in our decisions, and be our real selves. Place other people’s children in the mix (our campers), and those expectations are only more profound. The experience is really fun, wild, and rewarding, but my focus is very much attuned to my immediate context.
While in Alexandria, Egypt, I had the freedom, expectations, and academic demands that opened up the world of news and media from a Middle Eastern perspective. Sure, I got almost immediately frustrated at the biases evident in the media outlets, but I could look out into other events through the cones of focus of the bilingual journalists whose work I read or viewed. I don’t have that ability to open myself to those journalists’ thoughts at camp; I’m opening myself to the minds and beings of my campers and co-staff. (Is there a limit to how many people/much news I can attempt to understand at once?) Living in Egypt was exciting because the political situation was so fluid…and since the military’s ultimatum on Monday, and now the man who was president when I lived there is deposed and under house arrest – I can barely follow the news outline, let alone the multifaceted stories that make up the real news! I’m at times frustrated by my inability to look out into the world, but I find myself gathering in many profound stories of my coworkers and campers. I may want to expand the scope from which I gather, but for now, I am restricted. Hopefully, I will fully enjoy the stories I gather in from my relatively myopic focus.
Note: Because my camera died during a staff training trip down whitewater in early June, I will combine June and July’s stories. My new camera (a waterproof one!) will come in the next week or so. Thank you for your patience.