Meaning May End in Madness

Good blogs are rarely drippy diaries nor are they dry op-eds, having more personality than the latter without the self-indulgence of the former. When I started this blog, I thought it would be more diary-like than it's turned out to be,  but like those of many mice, my best laid scheme gang agley. Though I'm a pretty whimsical fellow in person, the subject matter tends to be staid, even if I usually write with the intent of eliciting at least a smile or two in any given post.  I'm satisfied with the overall mix, but a downside has been the exclusion of personal detail, and I'm now at a point where I need to catch up readers to what's been happening with me since coming back to the US in late July, so here's the past 9 months in a paragraph: When I returned from Germany, my plan was to renew old contacts in Columbia and work for about a year while I took placement tests and sent off applications to various graduate programs.  Soon enough I took a job working at USC (the original one, for all you thinking westerly) doing a few different research projects for the business school. At the same time, I was looking at grad schools and studying for the tests, but lacking the peace that usually accompanies my big decisions. Needing guidance, I went and saw a former professor/mentor/thesis advisor, and after talking with him I was redirected away from graduate school and back towards foreign soil.  I was then referred to another professor who led classes to Africa, and after one conversation with him acquired several business cards for companies in Rwanda. As luck would have it, the first company I contacted expressed interest, and though the details of the arrangement have changed over the intervening months (this all began last November), at 6 AM tomorrow morning I'll be catching a flight to Kigali to begin a six month initial stint.

What exactly I'll be doing is not a question I can answer easily; one of my Ivy League educated friends called it "new business development" when I explained it to him, but my more prosaic description is "helping a few expat entrepreneurs build profitable companies." One of my first projects at any rate will be developing the plans for a coffee-themed eco-tourism lodge on Lake Muhazi.

Here's a map of Rwanda, and here's my favorite map of Africa. Here are the contents of Africa according to the rest of the world.

My future abode is said to have internet, and Kigali is anyway a well-connected place, so blogging should continue apace once I'm settled.  If the personality of this blog changes as a result, it should be for the better--but much as I'd like to engage in more self-indulgent speculation on the matter, I've got bags to pack!