Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some Say Luck, I Say Blessing

News of the week:

1. My 93-year-old grandfather passed away

2. I'm going to his first granddaughter's wedding in Antigua & Barbuda (I guess the universe really is about balance after all.)

3. The Founder and Director of Safe Kids Worldwide, Dr. Martin R. Eichelberger, retired & he mentioned me in his farewell speech as the upcoming future of the organization. A very cherish-able moment in DC.

I am now about halfway through The Washington Center program. Hmm...Is Washington, DC a phase or should I aim to get back here after graduation? As my favorite quote by Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist says, "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." So I gotta be careful of what I wish for. Don't get me wrong, I love Washington, DC...especially because of the kind of people I've heard speak and/or met because of The Washington Center over the last 7 weeks. The list includes:

- President Barack Obama

- Bob Schieffer, Face The Nation

- Juan Williams, renowned journalist

- Congressman Norm Dicks

- His Excellency Mr. Sergey Kislyak of Russia

- Rt. Hon. Lord George Robertson of Port Ellen

- Congressman Robert Wexler

- Gillian M. Sorensen, senior advisor at the United Nations Foundation

- Welile Nhlapo, South African Ambassador

- Gov. Roy Romer, The College Board

- Fidel Herrera Beltran, governor of Veracruz, Mexico

- And the list goes on...especially of the individuals I met at the TWC Gala 2009

As a kid from Brooklyn, NY, when I meet some of these individuals, I'm always in awe of how willing they are to bend over backwards to do whatever they can to help me succeed. Exchanging business cards and actually keeping in touch with them makes me want to stick around the Washington metro area a bit longer. However, I despise the corporate life/work style...staring at a computer screen 12+ hrs a day have caused me to put my career goals under scrutiny. I always end with the same question at the end of each thinking cycle: how do I continue to make people's lives better while not having to conform to the 9-5 circuit for the next 40 years? What treasure or 'personal legend' am I being led to by all these influential people I'm meeting?

To make matter worse, in the back of my mind, I am certain of the kind of impact one person can have on a community, country, world. For example, my grandfather did not die a wealthy man in a sense of materialistic possessions. However, the 7 children he fathered and the numerous grandchildren that came because of him were his contribution to the world. His children and grandchildren are spread among many fields in a desperate need to help make the world a better place for upcoming generations. Now it is my turn to pick up that baton and continue the relay race...all I gotta do is open my eyes for directions and know when to build momentum to jump the hurdles.

RIP Grandpa Necene.

Until Next Time,

Emmanuel H.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leaving Nothing to Chance


The last two weeks have been the most exhausting time for me since I've been in Washington, DC. My workload has increased dramatically, thanks to the visit of my university’s liaison to The Washington Center from New York. However, it's not the augmentation of work that's been making my day arduous; it's the kind of work I've been doing. For example, last week, I spent almost the whole week analyzing nearly a million hospital visits (from 1998 to 2008) due to skateboard injuries in the United States alone. It's unnerving to read story after story of how children get injured skateboarding because of stupidity. For example, there was this kid who strapped a skateboard unto his feet and then jumped on a trampoline in an attempt to build momentum to skateboard over a table. Among that kid's many injuries were lacerations to his testicles. Anyway, everyone seems to be happy about the kind of statistics I'm producing. It feels good tobe in a position to create data people are actually using in their reports and speeches.

In other news, I turned twenty-one on September 28. Fortunately, on that day, the Science, Technology, and Society Program explored Washington, DC's watershed with an educational boat ride along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. It was the absolute best gift since it combined four of my favorite things in the world; adventure, water, conversations with an intimate group of friends, and education. The coolest part was definitely when I piloted the boat.

Fishing and Learning

Boat Ride

Nevertheless, unlike many people who turn 21 years old in the United States, I didn’t imbibe any alcohol. I wanted to do things a little differently for the day that I supposedly transform into an adult; having that day fall on a Monday made things a lot easier for me to accomplish that mission. To further celebrate, I went to an amazing equestrian show called Cavalia; attended Black Pearl Sings! at the Ford's Theatre; and had lunch at the Russian Embassy with His Excellency Mr. Sergey Kislyak of Russia, Rt. Hon. Lord George Robertson of Port Ellen, and Congressman Robert Wexler. And to top it all, I took a quick trip to NYC to visit my 93 yr-old grandfather.

Haiti-NYC, Mexico-MD, Vietnam-MA, SouthAfrica-AK

Nonetheless, as for my academic course on science and technology, there's nothing exciting going on. I always dread going to class on Wednesdays, especially since my classmates and I have to sit for 3 hours, not a minute less, to listen to our professor give his lectures. After an 8-hour day at work analyzing data on a computer screen, 3 more hours of intellectually bullying my brain with how to expedite health and environmental policy proposals through Congress has yet to make me glow with jubilance; no major complaints though.

Pres. Obama

Until Next Time,

Emmanuel H.