Saturday, April 11, 2009
We began our trip on Tuesday morning; at 4:30 a.m., hardly anyone was awake. After struggling with placing our luggage in the van and Laura’s small sedan, we headed out. Sleep filled my body and I woke up to a Greyhound bus stop in White River Junction, Vermont. Our group had a long trip ahead of them. We would have to travel from Vermont to Massachusetts, to New Hampshire, through Connecticut, and finally to New York City, New York. Most of us slept in the semi-comfortable seats while I laughed at our stern bus driver. He would honk and holler at cars that wouldn’t move and after the bellow of the horn was through, a few people would open their irritated eyes.
We arrived in New York around 4:00 p.m. and rushed to get ready to go to the welcoming ceremony at 6:00 p.m. Although we had some miscommunication on when to meet for our departure, we made it in time for the ceremony. Our group was happy to be at the UN and for many of us it was the first time at the headquarters.
Over the next few days I worked in the third committee. There were over 150 delegations present in my committee and it was somewhat difficult to have my voice heard but I soon sponsored a paper dealing with improving emergency response through humanitarian reform.
I made many friends and I now can count to over one hundred in German! This was a great opportunity and I hope to be back next year! I am thankful towards Green Mountain College for funding my trip and towards Paul for dealing with my crazy antics.
The trip down to New York City was one that involved a lot of napping. There was nothing really spectacular about the trip - nothing about a bus ride really is. All that changed when we drove up to the Port Authority and made our way to the Marriot Marquis at Times Square on foot – luggage and all. Then the fairy tale began. Never in my life have all my senses been so stimulated. The waft of warm pretzels was quickly and unfortunately replaced by that of horse dung as I wheeled my suitcase past a horse carriage. My eyes seemed to oscillate in their sockets jumping from one giant digitized billboard to the next. Different accents filled the air. A bit of Italian here and a tinge of West African dialect there all filled the humdrum in the atmosphere. This was definitely not Poultney. The sea of people was incredible and very annoying - at times kicking my luggage if I was suddenly distracted by my new surroundings. “Welcome to the centre of the world” Paul said. I chuckled.
The Acronym TGIF meant nothing to me on Friday April 10th. I was desperately ill. My throat felt like it had been rubbed down with sand paper and a fever shook my large frame. So on a trip back from the doctor’s office, Paul took me on a tour of ‘uptown’ NYC. I am not great with addresses but the general region was on the Southside of Central Park. My jaw dropped as I saw an Aston Martin DB5 casually parked outside an apartment block. Seconds after I had caught my breath, a Roll Royce Phantom pulled out of a street, its black paint glittering under the bright lights. This was a little bit of paradise come alive for me. And as we walked past another set of buildings, out of the corner of my eye I caught an all too familiar face. I have seen him at many soccer events including the World Cup. In fact, he’s the man that runs the World Cup. It’s Sepp Blatter! I glanced once, then twice and the stalker in me looked a third time only for Sepp to smile back. My dream of cars and soccer was morphed into one. New York – where dreams come true.
I didn't bring the cable for my camera, so the laptop camera will have to do for now. Here is the first image...
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Did you know that the 11 GMC reps are themselves from all over the world? We have 8 nations represented. Test your vexillographic acumen by guessing where these flags are from. To get the answers, click on each of the images. I'll give you a hint: the one with the stars and stripes is from a country that begins with the letter "U".
Currently, the delegation of Mali are supporters of two working papers, and signatories on another two. Laura is working primarily on a working paper concerning foreign investment, while I am working on one regarding currency. We are also supporting two working papers dealing with infrastructure and agriculture. In addition, we are attempting to draft a working paper surrounding the issue of strengthening economic education. Thus far, Model U.N. is proving to be both a fun and informative experience.
This is an amazing experience that I am grateful to be a part of.
I ran across this group of young urban professionals earlier on 8th Avenue. They were discussing matters related to trade policy and the African Union. They were:
A. Junior Managers at a nearby Hedge Fund
B. International Development Consultants
C. MBA students doing an internship at Smith Barney
D. Green Mountain College students talking about the Model UN
Greetings from the delegation of Mali working in the African Development Bank
So far, the delegation of Mali is working with the delegation of India, China, Italy, and Sierra Leone to suggest policy on foreign investment. India, China, and Italy are prominent trading partners and therefore our work with them is fitting and exciting so far. Since the agenda was set at 2, 1, 3 the delegations are expressing their relative views on intra-regional trade and many blocks are forming during caucuses.
India is trying to persuade Sierra Leone to shape the paper we will be working on to focus on agricultural development, but Sarah and I will be pushing for it to focus on industrial development and Agriculture. Cotton is our main agricultural export and we are already one of the leading exports of cotton in Africa. It is necessary to get foreign investment for our projects, such as the airport ‘Bamako-Senou’ that is what we will be working on.
This is all new, so it is very exciting (nervewracking)
Who says eating in New York City has to be expensive? I found a great little vegetarian juice bar and vitamin shop with some excellent takeaway on 9th Avenue between 46th and 47th. Vegan Dumplings, Seaweed Salad, and Curry Tofu with a freshly made carrot/cucumber juice side for under ten bucks! Everything a blogger needs to live. Please Note: that cup is made from paper, not styrofoam.
The GMC Model United Nations team hit the ground running and are furiously negotiating, meeting, mixing and writing. I'll keep you updated on their status as the events unfold.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Take a look at those earphones. Those are the actual ones used by translators and delegates at the United Nations. They were a little stained by eargrease, but it was impossible not to give them a try.
Kenyan GMC student Mark Thiong'o looks at the iconic Non-Violence sculpture while waiting to pass through security at the UN. Inside, he discovered that he wasn't the only Kenyan in the room. Two of the security officers were Kenyan and greeted him in Swahili. Once inside the UN, he met a young woman that he went to grade school with in Kenya. She was a delegate too! We'll keep you posted if serendipity strikes again.
We were running, literally, late for the Opening Ceremonies of the Model UN. But though they are more familiar with the quiet streets of rural Vermont, the team quickly adapted to the midtown hustle.
I saw this odd storefront somewhere along the way. I'm sure it means something, but what?
Sidenote: I find it so sad that the dinosaur feels the need to identify himself. Did he really think we didn't know what he was? And why must he totalize his identity? Sure he's a dinosaur, but isn't he more than that: a lover, a good cook, a father of three, an avid collector of Icthyosaurus eggs...I'm not sure what precisely he does, but I'm sure it extends beyond such base paleontologic identity politics.
Some worked...And I'm here wishing I photographed that man in a barbershop holding a jack russell terrier and staring forlornly out the window...
In fact it was your present narrator who almost failed to make the connection. But tragedy was averted and it was off to our next destination.