Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I've started and not quite finished a few posts, I will get to them soon.
I've also been busy, even by my liberal standards.
An evening meeting was cancelled and I didn't get the message.
The missed communication landed me in a coffeehouse with wireless access.
Perfect. I'm giving myself permission to catch up on reading blogs.

Today was my typical chock-full of activities day.
I was at work at 8:00 this morning, after leaving at 10:30 last night.
I spent a restless night wondering if I was being slowly poisoned by a gas leak -- the gas main in front of my house was cut yesterday and I told the gas guy I could light my own pilot lights.
Famous last words.

I had the great pleasure of speaking to a group of visiting Kyrgyzstani students this morning. They are all interested in economic development and are in the States for a month and are studying at IUPUI.

Second Helpings is hard to explain on a good day.
Throw in the language barrier (I spoke through an interpreter) and the cultural differences and it gets even dicier. In Kyrgyzstan most business is government owned and non-for-profit agencies don't exist.
The idea of volunteering is unheard of, as is the idea of funding a project through individual donations (less than 1% of our budget is from public funds or government grants).
There were lots of questions about fundraising and having a voice in our government. I was trying to explain networking and the role of lobbyists.

The Kyrgyzstani's also take care of their own people, the sick and elderly are taken care of by their families. The students could not believe there were people living on the street. "Where is their family?" They cannot believe that American's throw out 25% of the usable food supply. It is a hard statistic to tell and swallow.

The students all treated me like a rock star. Each one had their photograph taken with me and several video-recorded the talk.
I joined them for lunch afterward. They are all very cosmopolitan and much more fashionable than me. We talked about music. It was fun to grab a NUVO from the university lunchroom and show them my byline.

The next speaker was my friend from the Department of Agriculture. I told the students I was off to 'network' and whispered the story of the spilled drink and my subsequent skirt mopping to the interpreter. As I re-introduced myself to Mr. Ag there was a big burst of laughter from the students. I just shrugged my shoulders -- crazy college kids.

I'm glad to know that I can blush in any language.


Jamie Dawn said...

I guess we can learn from their country's ways and they can learn from ours.
I just thank my lucky stars that I was born in America!
They treated you like a rock star because you ARE a rock star. Don't you know that??!!!
Cute photo!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Thank you for your visit and your lovely comment.
I love 'backstory' too...It is what enriches the understanding of the present...I think.

Interesting encounter with these lovely people. I admire that you are so involved!

Bella Rossa said...

What a cute story. And wow, I didn't realize that we throw away 25% of the usable food supply. What a terrible, wasteful shame.

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all - including you. Blush in any language - priceless.

Tee said...

Kyrgyzstani students - gosh that would be so interesting!

One of my favorite books was written partially about Kyrgystan, believe it or not. It's called "This Is Not Civilization"... really touching and yet funny travel memoir.

Rachel said...

I never heard of that place they are from. Must be far away! Nice to meet others and learn their cultures. I'm sure this is an amazing trip for them!

A rock star! Wow!!!