Monday, May 5, 2014

On my way! Dispatch from a global crossroads

There are some destinations on here I've never heard of...which is saying something because I've heard of a lot of places...Nador anyone?
On my way to my IBM Corporate Service Corps #ibmcsc Kenya assignment! I’m on layover in Amsterdam.  I love European airports.  Being in a European airport (I mean a big one like Amsterdam, London, or Paris) is when I most feel like a citizen of a globalized world.  People are passing through from practically everywhere.  I love imagining where they came from and where they’re going and why.  That guy over there is on business trip from Amsterdam to Paris.  That family is coming from Saudi Arabia on their way to New York.  That woman over there is coming from Ghana on her way to college in London.  Etc. Etc. If I was making this trip 30 years ago what would it feel like?

For one thing I can only imagine traveling to Kenya would feel like a much more exotic experience.  Today traveling to Nairobi feel like traveling to just another connected global hub - a place with modern shopping malls, ubiquitous mobile phones and high speed internet, a steady flow of tourist and business people coming and going.  Fourteen years ago when I took my first trip to Africa – to Zimbabwe for a college semester abroad – I felt (mostly out of ignorance) like was traveling to the end of the earth.  While learning that Zimbabwe, in fact, wasn’t the end of the earth was the big reveal from that experience, finding a connected computer lab at the University of Zimbabwe felt like stumbling into a time machine.  Sending an email to my college friends back home via telnet on a black and white screen felt like a touch of magic.  There’s no doubt that Kenya today is incomparably more globally interconnected than Zimbabwe was in 1998.  What a difference fourteen years makes.

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