We are one day away from departure. That means the final stages of packing, unpacking, repacking, unpacking again, shifting, discarding, sorting, and squeezing in have about run their course. My 30 pounds of books has become 20 pounds. I look at the ten pound discard stack on the floor of my office and wonder if I shouldn’t pull one out of a suitcase and slip a replacement in. Nope. I’ll stick with my last set of choices.
Books are an interesting item. I’ve written before about the fact that most students won’t have a book of their own. In my conversations with the department chair at Kenya Methodist University, his response to my question of what do you want me to bring, was, “books.” I’ve tried to be judicious in my choices. The initial stack grew until it tipped the luggage scales to the point of “extra baggage fees.” That forced a major re-do. I managed to make some publisher contacts and have some books enroute to KEMU—I hope they will be waiting for me when I arrive.
I was asked if I could bring a Corey book on counseling. I’m not sure it makes a difference which one, but I got hold of a new one with the accompanying DVD and it is still shrink-wrapped in my bag. I think the next time I see Gerry at an ACA convention, I’m going to tell him that he owes me big time. His book representative for Africa resides in London and has been to the KEMU campus before. I quote: “It’s a lovely campus, but be careful of the bumps and holes in the road between Nairobi and Meru.” Fortunately, I won’t be driving—I’ll leave that to someone else.
Other choices have also been difficult. What clothes to take for four months in an area that I don’t know which would cover everything from professional attire for formal occasions to work activities with friends of ours who build houses for AIDS families in Maua—not far from Meru where we will be.
I propose an exercise for counselor educators a, counseling students, and counselors in the field: “If you had only one book to support you as teacher, student, or counselor, what would it be”? I’ll be interested in the responses.
Take care—my next post will be from Kenya.
Brooke Collison is professor emeritus of counselor education and a former president of the American Counseling Association. He will be a visiting professor at Kenya Methodist University in Meru, Kenya during the September trimester. Joan Collison will be a volunteer with children in a social service agency during their four-month stay in Kenya.