Bangkok, Tuesday, January 21, 2014 (Sunday, Monday and Today…)
I haven’t written much since Saturday, so I have some lines to catch up with… Where to begin? Sunday!
After an intense Saturday, I went to bed early and watched some Newsroom, as we had absolutely no wifi in the building -connections were down. Sunday morning I woke up to find out the situation was still the same. Before leaving for church, I decided to try the new coffee shop in our building Mongkol, which was AMAZING! I sat down and enjoyed it together with a butter croissant and some orange marmalade. Yes, it sounds so trivial but I needed this so much! Finally a perfect latte that is not super expensive (same price as in campus!), what better stabilizer to close this week?
At 9 AM, I left for Church with Suthan (Batticaloa, Sri Lanka), Stephen (Assam, India) and LaMonte (Philadelphia, USA). Anjali, the cousin of my ACLU-SC friend Ahilan had invited us to her church -which I mistakenly thought was Catholic. Once we got there, we realized it was Anglican, but that people from other denominations also attend. It is a very international gathering. We first met Neal and Anjali’s kids. She was directing the service, which was fantastic. Longer than the usual services I have attended in Catholic churches, but definitely much more grounding. Many of prayers are the same and different than Catholic Church, it is much more participatory. After the service, we had some tea with them and got to talk about a Sri Lankan family that’s seeking refugee status here in Thailand, who Anjali is trying to help. We headed back around 1 PM and decided to get lunch at MBK. While I thought we were going to end up talking about religion, we didn’t. It was an interesting lunch conversation, about the group experience of the fellowship and life and the similarities among us.
In the afternoon we got news from Martine hat there had been a bomb explosion in Victory Monument and to avoid any protest areas. That same night, a security tree was designed by Suthan and circulated among us. This will allow us to get crucial security updates in circumstances like this.
Before heading to campus to study for the week, I got to do some Facetime with Freddy and the gang, as most of my friends were at Elik’s place for his birthday. It was very emotional, after so many weeks here, to see them all at the same time. It makes me realize how much I value the life that we’ve built in California.
Monday I woke up with a cold, not nice… so the day went by with a headache, some chills and congestion. Also, as I got to campus, I received a message from my brother Santiago that my mom had been in the hospital as she fainted at home and was by herself. Not a good way to start a week. After a couple of minutes, I was able to get more updates with him before heading to class: she was already back home resting.
Good thing is that Monday we discussed a very interesting topic and had an excellent speaker, who kept us engaged regardless of the deep theoretical content of what we were discussing. Our lecturer for the week is Erik Melander, a Swedish professor and Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve who had served in the Bosnia-Herzegovina mission. I loved how Stephen introduced him, he didn’t just read his bio but added a very personalized style to his introduction and made us laugh as well.
In the afternoon, I retreated to my room and slept this cold away. Then made myself a cheese, avocado and tomato sandwich (which was very good!) and studied some of the materials on Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment, which we will be presenting to the group on Wednesday afternoon. I talked to my mom around 8 PM and then came back to read some more and watch some Newsroom before falling asleep.
Today is Tuesday. Still, with a cold. In class, we continued with the mind mapping and discussed the Conflict Triangle and the 3 angles: Actors / Attitudes ,Behaviour/Dynamics and Contradictions / Compatibilities. After the lunch break, we split in groups to work on the case of Farmers vs. Herders in Darfur. I worked with Franco, Sulo, Rachana, Dara and Josephine for the first time. Came back home after grabbing an afternoon coffee and caught up with the journaling (amazingly enough, I’ve been writing for an hour almost now!). Here’s one of the mind maps that we used in class this week:
OK, time for a mini-nap before I head out to get some food reserves and water. Still with a cold, but hoping this goes away soon -at least no asthma attacks yet! Tomorrow morning I will be meeting with Martine to discuss the topic and next steps, so I need to prepare a bit about that.