"Stephanie Fong, Zachary Fazio, Landis Masnor, and Renee Meschi are Shimer students participating in the Shimer Summer Internship Program. They regularly post updates about their internship experiences.
This post is from Landis Masnor who is interning with CLM, an NGO dedicated to eradicating extreme poverty in central Haiti."
You have a lot of time to think when you’re riding on the back of an ass. I have always found it easier to think deeply while riding on a bike, car, the lawn mower. The ass is new one, but it worked just fine. I should admit, however, that the ass I received was the most unruly of all three asses my party rode into the mountains. Although he carried close to 300lbs, myself included, he trotted quickly, butting the other mules out of the way, until he came to the lead, where he slowed his pace considerably and routinely grazed at leisure.
His unruly nature dictated not only his speed, but his path. Where the other donkeys would proceed up a smooth path as directed, my ass chose to pioneer a new way, his own way. Indeed a free, entreprenureal spirit is not to be desired in an ass. When his newly forged route brought problems, like when we approached a large break in the rock filled with sludge, rather than rejoin the group and admit their superior foresight, like we all thought he would, he dared to maintain his autonomous flare, thinking to himself, “I’m gonna jump it.’
A snapshot of that moment would reveal my panick stricken face beginning to fill with a fearful kind of joy and confusion. My shoulders are beginning to rise, my hands letting go of the rope. It’s almost as if the rodeo in my blood is finally getting its chance. But in this moment, before we make it over the gap, I understand the depth of the dire hilarity in which I'm prancing. I’m in the middle of rural, mountainous Haiti. I have no idea where I am or where I’m going. I don’t even know how long of a hike it is and my arms are turning Coca-Cola Red. The people I’m with, we’ve just met. No one told me how to ride the donkey and now we’re doing tricks.
After touchdown, I recall the Kemper lunch at the Pritzer Club on the IIT campus where the four interns were briefed on networking techniques. I now wonder, as respectfully as possible, if that wasn’t a total waste of time for everyone there (excepting Zack Fazio. Go-get-um Zack!).