Reflections from under the Derby

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I'm going to Africa!!!
stymie4
docstymie
In case you missed it the first time, and you could have easily since that entry had a generic title, I'm going to Africa next spring!

If you've read here over the last couple of years, you're aware of my growing interest in helping small stakeholder farmers in Africa. And now, it finally seems I'll get to go see African farming firsthand. Last week I sent out an email to get the logistical planning started. I had planned on gathering lots of blogging material for both here and my internal company blog. A couple of our communications folks are now assigned to help coordinate the kinds of information they want brought back to our employees. Today, I received an email from my colleague in Kenya giving me some more suggestions.

It looks as if I'll be visiting Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa on this trip. Of course I'll be meeting my African colleagues and seeing our local facilities. But the majority of my trip will be visiting small farms and meeting farmers with the goal of finding ways we can focus on helping them get out of poverty. Today I also learned that as part of the trip, I'll likely be giving talks to University groups and even some government researchers/officials about agricultural innovations, probably with a focus on combating climate change.

Over the last couple of years when discussing my personal development plan, I've half-joked that my career plan is to become agriculture's version of Bono - focusing attention on the need to increase innovation in agriculture to feed a growing population while bringing over a billion people out of poverty. Today after learning of the possibility of talking to University and government officials, I couldn't help but think of Bobby Kennedy visiting South Africa the year I was born and giving his Day of Affirmation speech:

It is these qualities which make of youth today the only true international community. More than this I think that we could agree on what kind of a world we would all want to build. it would be a world of independent nations, moving toward international community, each of which protected and respected the basic human freedoms. It would be a world which demanded of each government that it accept its responsibility to insure social justice. It would be a world of constantly accelerating economic progress - not material welfare as an end in itself, but as a means to liberate the capacity of every human being to pursue his talents and to pursue his hopes. It would, in short, be a world that we would be proud to have built.

After feeling like I've been swimming upstream in my efforts to help people in Africa, it finally feels like good things are about to happen. I am so excited for the possibilities.

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I'm so happy for you, Doc! Dream come true!

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