I'm Jim Cave, I'm in Mali and these are my notes

I'm Jim Cave, I'm in Mali and these are my notes

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My last days in Montana and why I hate Denver International Airport

It seems like conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen. Between the fake moon landing, “loose change” 9/11 theories and the reptilian agenda there seems to be a plethora of evil doers to blame for any given wrong. One such popular conspiracy theory involves a “New World Order” of bankers and similarly high power personalities that secretly control the world. Like the other fantasies mentioned, I in no way believe in the creditability of the NWO conspiracy, but one aspect of the theory attracts me. This group of super bankers and others that supposedly control the unfolding of society have their secret base in the Denver International Airport. DIA might seems like a strange place for the seat of an evil power, but then you actually spend some time in DIA. To put it simply, regardless of the existence of the New World Order DIA seeps of evil. I can not think of a place I loath more as I sit in DIA waiting for nine hours for my departure. Just five days ago my flight out of DIA was cancelled leaving me stranded in Denver. When one totals it up I’ve been stranded in Denver overnight four times. I should be on a plane heading to Philly as I'm typing this, but the plane closed the doors fifteen minutes early leaving me behind as my flight to Denver was late.

In an attempt to make the most of the situation, I’m going to write this blog post/study Bambara until my laptop runs out of batteries. My last few days in Montana were busy, but enjoyable as a whole. In five days I’ve seen a lot of friends, and talked to many well-wishers. All of these people I will miss, and talking to them bring to my attention how Montana will continue to live in my absence. The next time I set foot in my home state two of my best friends and going to be married to each other living elsewhere, all my buddies are going to be graduated and have real jobs, my baby relatives aren’t going to be babies anymore and countless other changes will have occurred. I will miss all these people, but I’ll also miss places.

There is a certain time of the year between late May and mid July where Montana discards it’s drab shades of yellow and dawns an attractive shade of green. Things that at one time would not have caught ones eye become beautiful, and a sense of pride for living in this place can fill you. You can forget the wind that roars though Great Falls constantly, or that Bozeman has snow on the ground during May, and just take in the surroundings. I would really love about another weeks to go hiking and journey to Bozeman one last time, but it was just not in the cards. It is no surprise in this time of beauty that I had to go see my cabin one last time.

For those of you that are not familiar with my cabin it is located on the Missouri river betweens the towns of Cascade and Craig, a little downriver from where the Dearborn flows into the Missouri. My grandfather build that cabin when my father was a small child, and it has been it family for almost sixty years. The cabin started as a construction barracks, but has been added onto over the years. This cabin is most likely my favorite place in the entire world, and my favorite activity there is sitting on a swing watching the river flow. As one watches the water flow continually, and fisherman try their luck on boats in front of the cabin, the stress of the life flows into a enjoyable calm. Family, friends and areas like this is what I’m going to miss most about my home.

Leaving Montana for two years in exchange for a mysterious foreign place is going to be challenging, but it is a challenge I look forward to facing.

P.S. I'm having trouble with the website when I try to post pictures, but I'll figure something out soon. Additionally I'm now in Philly and doing staging (orientation). Everyone seems cool from the little conversation that I've had with them. I'll be leaving for Mali tomorrow!

Monday, June 28, 2010

First Post

The major reason I am writing this blog is to keep in touch with family and friends while I’m gone. In addition, writing something on a regular basis may stop my writing skills from evaporating away in the Malian sun. However, I have learned in preparation for my journey that these blogs can be an interesting read, and a great tool for future Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV’s in PC lingo). It seems fitting then to give a little bit of background on myself. I’ll start off with the basics.

I’m Jim Cave a 22 year old that is going to serve as an environmental/agricultural volunteer in the United States Peace Corps. I was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana (in the middle of the state), and just graduated from Montana State University-Bozeman. My degree is in Political Science, and I have a minor in History. I’ve worked a bunch in a bunch of different jobs including working for U.S. Senator Jon Tester and the Montana Farmers Union, but one day hope to be a lawyer focusing on labor law. The PC is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and for a number of different reasons. Firstly, I think I’ve lived a pretty good/easy life with loving/hard working parents and an extended family that are first class. I’m lucky enough to have good friends across the United States that have helped me out continually. The Peace Corps has always seemed like the way to give back. For two years my main career goal is to help others out, and that is something I could not get if I went straight to law school or began working. Additionally, PC offers a chance for a journey abroad that expands beyond a visit. This promises to take me out of my comfort zone, and truly experience another way of life currently unknown to me. All in all I think I’m a pretty normal guy that might care a little bit too much about the news. For those of you that already know me I’ll talk about a pretty busy last few weeks.

On May 17th the Peace Corps told me I was set of leave on July 1st, before this I thought I was going to leave in September. Since the news I’ve been in a frantic scramble preparing to leave the country. I have made a short list of law schools and made a trip to visit them, worked full time until about two weeks ago, went to a cousins wedding and tried to get my personal affairs in order. All while being busy with shopping, packing and filling out PC paperwork. I’m going to focus on the law school tour briefly.

I visited law schools at U of Wisconsin - Madison, U of Iowa - Iowa, George Mason, U of Richmond, Wake Forest and a few other schools in the New York/D.C. area. Though I don’t want to make a list raking the schools since they all have their own strengths, I have some points to make. Madison is the definite front-runner on the list, and quite frankly I was very impressed. I had never really thought much about the area of Madison (or Wisconsin in general), because I did not think their was much to think of. If I wanted the good things about living in a city I’d move to one of the coasts. If I want to be close to nature I’d just stay in the comfortably populated mountainous area of awesome known and central and western Montana. However, Madison was recommended to me by a professor and I am glad I went. Madison is very near two lakes, and the campus is actually directly adjacent to one of the lakes. The city is pretty large, and the local flora was pretty impressive. In addition to all of this Madison is highly ranked, and has a labor law concentration available (pretty rare).

If after spending some time in Mali I feel the need to live in the big city (or make the kind of money associated with doing so), I’d rather live in DC than New York. I have a good group of friends currently living in DC, and was more impressed with the law schools as well. However, I have a feeling I would like New York more and more the longer I was there. Richmond offers something unique and intriguing. It is only 90 minutes away from DC, and if you are from Montana 90 minutes is nothing. Additionally it is only 90 minutes away from the ocean and from the mountains. The kicker is they told me I could get a good scholarship there as well bringing the cost down. This post is getting pretty long and I have some thinking to do so I’m going to end it here