The Fabled Li-Cor [photo: Mansell Ambrose]
Exposure to new ideas and disciplines has been one of the profound joys of this internship. Not only have I had the opportunity to be immersed in a completely different culture and language, but I have been challenged in my own intellectual viewpoints. Coming into college I embodied the indecision that is seemingly inherent of the liberal arts education. I was interested in everything from history to Ancient Greek and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to major in or if that major would be applicable to my future. I felt as if I surely was going to be an English or History major, yet somehow ended up studying rock formations and tree species as a Natural Resources major. I had never considered myself a student of science, much less ever being a scientist.
When explaining Zamni Kafe and Zamni Agrikol I find myself taking on the unfamiliar mantle of scientist. Here in Haiti I have been challenged to a new degree as I delve into the multi-faceted realm of biology. I could not have labeled the different parts of an ant or much less clearly articulated the relationship between photosynthesis and transpiration in Coffea arabica. I have been forced to learn new concepts and modes of thought by the expertise of my professor and fellow students. It is humbling to be around such dedication to the systems and interactions of living beings. It is a beautiful thing to watch other people’s passion become manifest in their excitement at catching a seemingly insignificant ant or debating the finer points of angiosperms and ferns. My passions and drives are not directed at the complexity of biology, but through the patience of my fellow interns and Dr. McGrath I have been able learn information I am not normally exposed to. We get stuck in the minutiae of our respective fields to the point where we miss out on connecting the dots between fields of study. These connections are a critical foundation of liberal arts education.
I have had a chance to consider myself a scientist, an experience I would have never dreamed of having until I came here.
Partners [photo: Mansell Ambrose]