Work on Somalia seems to take on a time of its own. Somali sounds as if the deepest angers are moving from the hot core to the cold breathe. The tones pierce the ears only before the rumblings of laughter fill ones body with such relaxation that a smile is the only adequate response.
Sometimes (perhaps more often than any other) the strangest opportunities and interests occur during times and places when they are unexpected. For probably anyone, I included, it would be startling to have research ideas and contacts regarding the ocean coming from the center of a land-locked state. A foundation working on ocean and fisheries issues from the Denver area should not be successful based on any reasonable set of indicators. Yet, it has become a magnetic hub for generating collaboration between organizations and people seeking to improve the health of the ocean. The fisheries and ocean worlds are small, but I never expected to work and meet people representing UBC’s Sea Around Us Project, the Ocean Health Index, the Walton Family Foundation or the Pew Charitable Trusts for my work with Secure Fisheries. Nor take one to places that one has desired to go yet never had the chance before.
Additionally, my work with Secure Fisheries and interacting with fellow colleagues and partners has provided openings to gestate research ideas of interest to me that I likely would have not otherwise explored. For instance, I am currently pursuing an avenue investigating the relationship between El Niño events, droughts and coupled human-environment impacts on fisheries in Eastern Africa. This outlet of research only occurred since I am working with an organization concentrating in east Africa, fisheries and conflict.
My concluding thoughts and suggestions for future CBE Fellows are: (1) follow even hesitant prospects for it is unknown where the path may lead, for that (2) research and work opportunities can come from the most unique of places. Embrace and welcome the ambiguity of the circumstances of your summer, since new and better doors may be opened. As Tennyson once wrote: