Every week, I tap, tap, tap away at the letters on my keyboard to share a travel story with readers in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and beyond.
Now I’m spending less time tapping and more time talking (and showing photos and footage). Friday and Saturday, I was honored to share my East African experiences (and China book) with residents of Fargo and Grand Forks.
On Friday, I drove up to Fargo from Minneapolis to kick off the Life Learned Abroad Tour.
I presented at the West Acres Mall.
By 7:20, a roomful of attendees readied for my presentation of adventure and analysis.
When I asked, they commented on the animated church service I witnessed in Tanzania.
“I think they’re putting on a show,” said one woman.
“You can see that here in America, too,” said an older man.
We talked economic development–and whether it was necessarily “better” to have the latest gadgets.
Overall, though, I showed dozens of photos and some footage to offer an idea of what it was like in this part of the world. I then capped things off with a reading from my book Life Learned Abroad about my year in China from 2010-2011.
Many thanks to the West Acres Mall for the space and the support offered to arrange the space.
Many thanks to the Fargoans who came out on a Friday night (during the hockey games) to listen, watch, ask questions, and engage in an education about their world. These included a pastor who came dressed in a Sudanese shirt from his work there, a professor/researcher of molecular biology and sustainable energy from NDSU, and a college student there for class credit.
Finally, there were the Jensens, the couple who hosted me and who themselves have spent their careers traveling the world working in the energy sector in the developing world.
Today, Paul Jensen operates Green Ways 2 Go (greenways2go.com), an advisory company working with businesses to help them apply green energy to their operations.
The next day, I flew up I29 to Grand Forks.
No hockey games today (though one attendee proudly wore his UND jersey.)
I presented at The Ember coffee shop, a non-profit effort from Freedom Church.
Workers are volunteers and the space caters to artists–musicians, painters, authors, and more.
With desserts/coffee spread, I presented in their event room. Attendees arrived to explore their world and the topics arisen along the way.
They asked great questions.
“How did tribal division affect the health care?” asked one lady.
“I’m not sure,” I said frank and stumped.
Another question was whether there was separate education facilities for boys and girls at the school I worked at.
This one I could answer. (No, there wasn’t.)
A young man who had taught abroad, a middle-aged woman mission worker, and a middle-aged gent who took a liking to writing himself were some of the attendees.
It was another great event with great people.
North Dakota, it was great spending time with you.
Minnesota, you’re up. Today I’m presenting in Bemidji at the Eagles Club at 2:00pm. Area residents, come for the refreshments–oh, and a chance to learned about and discuss the different cultures on the planet.
Here is the remaining schedule of events:
BEMIDJI – Sunday, March 29 at 2pm
Bemidji Eagles Club, 1270 Neilson Ave SE
DULUTH – Tuesday, March 31 at 7pm
Spirit of The North Theater, 600 E. Superior St.
BRAINERD – Thursday, April 2 at 7pm
Northland Arboretum, 1450 Conservation Drive
COTTAGE GROVE – Saturday, April 4 at 2pm
Park Grove Library, 7900 Hemingway Ave S
Hope to see you there.