Sunday, June 22, 2014

Some of the Facty Facts... and a couple of dogs

Moppy & co.
Four days in Perú already--I can hardly even believe it. You'd think with the amount of sighing and cooing I've done over the doggie webcam at Gumbo's daycare that we'd been gone for months. Fortunately, I've already made some friends to keep me company during our stay in Cusco.
We're in Cusco for a month, part of a self-supported research project for the grand finale of my Master's in Social Work and Certificate in Global Health. What started out as a vague plan to investigate domestic violence resources at medical facilities in Cusco (the country chosen due to a well-timed and dear practicum instructor) morphed into an interest in the impacts of climate change on indigenous peoples in the Andes (one impact probably being an increase in domestic violence and difficulty accessing resources, so there ya go... consistency.) Part of this shift in focus was sparked by a class that Jeff taught, Plague Narratives: The Rhetoric of Catastrophe. Global warming is, literally, the Earth-shattering topic of our time, yet it has warranted approximately one social work class period's worth of my entire time in graduate school. 

One class. 


(And that professor remains my favorite.) 

Everything I do for the rest of my career, no matter what I do or where I work -- mental health, water access, domestic violence, women's and indigenous rights, food access, urban development, etc etc etc -- will be impacted, in some way, by the way our world is warming. That's a conversation that needs to happen in my field, and I hope to add my piece.

I'll have some tangents, of course. I'm a social worker--I can't travel the world without social commentary. Whether it's striking up conversations about land rights with the confused taxi driver or Free Trade Agreements with our young tour guide, I have a way of expanding my discomfort to those around me. As Jeff mentioned, I was in Cusco for one day and was already talking about religious commodification.

Welcome to my discomfort. My bailiwick. Sheesh.

The other part of my shifting focus was a desire to partner with my, uh, partner. I like being a team. An investigative duo. I have dreams that Gumbo and I are crime-fighting sidekicks. Now Jeff and I are sidekicks, too. He balances my tendency to get bogged down in reality (hence the pom-pom and Original Tourist jokes) and coaxes me out of my shyness with purposefully poorly pronounced Spanish so I feel compelled to rush in and correct him. Bless his heart, I love that man.

So there you have it. As Jeff said, we have fancy recorders and laptops and notebooks. I'm reaching out to local organizations with my own badly worded Spanish. Like Jeff's running, thus far I am coming up empty-handed...

...aside from my new vegan cult friend. Mulder would love him. 

Abduction-risks aside, it's going to be a good journey. Wish us luck, and besos to you all.

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