Next chapter

Over the summer I was offered a one-year fellowship with the CDC, aka the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For my friends outside the US, CDC is a branch of the US government that does health research and programs in the US as well as internationally. This particular fellowship targets people who have just graduated from their MPH and pairs us up with CDC offices… in my case, CDC Ethiopia! Between finishing up my work in New Haven, and trying to get everything together for Ethiopia, the last few weeks were pretty insane! I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that 1. it was a loooooong to-do list haha, and 2. thank goodness my mom was kind enough to go out and get me additional nice clothes I could wear in the office. I went shopping once or twice and that was enough to remind me why I never go to malls :-p    It’s just a personal preference: while I absolutely love wandering through a crowded market in Africa, or shopping for a salwar kameez in the streets of India, to me most malls feel emotionally cold and sterile, devoid of that excitement and uniqueness of more locally-owned shops. I love connecting with people, and I think smaller, distinct stores (where you can come back and see the same people every week) facilitate building that connection. I can think of a dozen shopkeepers I’ve gotten to know in other countries as well as in the US (e.g. farmers markets!), but can’t remember the name of any clerks in a big grocery store or mall in my hometown. I know these thoughts are a tangent, but the idea made me wonder: what are your thoughts on this, O readers from all over the place? 🙂  Do you feel similarly, or do you feel a positive vibe in malls that you can’t get anywhere else?

Friend from a market in Tanzania. I still remember how she would break into a smile as I learned a few words of Swahili

One could also consider the economic benefits of small and/or locally-owned businesses compared to selling the same product in a mall / large chain. There I’m uncertain. Here the question is about whether it feels different for you to buy items from certain places- if at all.


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