April 5, 2017
“Here comes the sun”…nope. “Sunshine, on my shoulders”…no. “Let the sunshine in”…absolutely not. “The sun will come out, tomorrow”…and again, nope. Sigh. Around here lately it’s all been “ain’t no sunshine” and “here comes the rain again.” I’m pretty much over gray skies and dreary days. I need some bright rays in my life. I mean, I’m really, really over it. I’m over it as in the-doc-prescribed-huge-amounts-of-Vitamin-D-supplements over it. I spent an entire day — nine full hours — driving in the rain last weekend. And when I drove home? You guessed it — raining again. I know the whole “April showers” thing, but this is really making me grumpy. Sorry, I “blame it on the rain.”
I’m also sorry if I’ve put any earworms into your head. It’s just what I do. I often relate things around me with song lyrics. I remember when I was in Zambia on my first trip to Africa. It was lusher than I expected. I stood on my hotel balcony to dry out some clothes I had washed in the sink, when all of a sudden a storm came out of nowhere and the rain came down. Immediately, you know where I’m going with this, I could not get Toto out of my head. I pretty much sang “I bless the rains down in Africa” until the storm had passed. Luckily, it blew through quickly.
I remember being surprised that we encountered rain at all. I hadn’t expected that on a continent that so often experiences severe droughts. I thought about all the water we have in Michigan and how a drought for us means that our lawns are a little brown in August and we have to use the sprinklers. We never have to worry about a real famine or the ravages a severe drought can have on a community. I remember wishing that on days when I’ve had enough of rain in Michigan, how wonderful it would be if we could trade our weather with a place that truly needed it.
We haven’t figured out a way to do that yet. However we can share knowledge, skills, training and service. Spartans have a long history of doing that, particularly in Africa. MSU is strongly engaged in all sorts of partnerships, research projects and endeavors there and has been for decades.
Thomas Jayne, a professor and co-director of the Alliance for African Partnership, is a strong believer in using the knowledge and skills we have to lead African organizations to become self-sufficient and prosperous. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Institutional capacity building in Africa, to learn more about his philosophies and research, and how swatting scorpions off the walls ignited a passion for his profession.
No matter how dark and dreary it can be, Spartans are always looking for ways to brighten someone’s day and make it better. Emily Cervone, a senior double majoring in professional writing and journalism, has found her passion addressing accessibility issues that affect students when taking standardized tests. During some research on ethnic biases in testing, she discovered an intelligent student with dyslexia who struggled taking the ACT. Read her STUDENT VIEW: A VOICE FOR ACCESSIBILITY, to learn about this dedicated and compassionate young woman whose goal is to reinvent accessibility in testing.
You know, I actually saw a bit of the sun early this morning. Clouds soon enveloped it and the rain started down, but I know it’s there somewhere. As a Spartan, I do my best to look past the clouds and find the light. Even with snow in the forecast, I’m absolutely certain that soon I will feel the sun on my face. Spartans don’t wallow in the darkness, they simply look for the light and find a way to share it with the rest of the world. Spartans Will.
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz