Joe Stapanek interview

Joe Stapanek interview - Julia Bentley SHIP ANTH: Regional...

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Julia Bentley SHIP ANTH: Regional Cultures of Africa Interview: Joseph Stapanek January 19, 2008
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I’ll admit it: I was definitely intimidated when I stepped out of the car and made my way towards Joe Stapanek’s house. I had prepared myself with some knowledge of his past publications a couple of hours prior, and remember feeling like I did not even know where to begin with my questions. From the work he has done in Nairobi, Kenya, to the tireless hours he spent working on family planning in Zambia, and then on to the many years he spent working in Tanzania, not to mention all of his years spent in Asia… Stapanek has definitely set the curve for future USAID workers. He had a very worldly air about him when we sat down, dawning reading glasses and sitting in the corner of the couch crossing his legs, he looked very collegiate, wise, like the kind of guy that knows everything about anything and could hold a conversation for hours on end. His home reminded me of the homes I visited while I was in Africa. The furniture was simplistic, not huge like so many Americans feel they need to have, and there were artifacts, and travel souvenirs everywhere the eye wandered. There were batiks from all over Asia hanging on the walls, tribal sculptures from Tanzania sitting in the corners, and family photos of his little girls doing beadwork with the people of Zambia. I could not have been more jealous of his travels, and of his accomplishments. The one thing I really loved about Stapanek was his interest in my life. For the first twenty minutes all he wanted to talk about was me. Soon we were trading stories about our trips to Africa, commiserating about the media and our government, and even broaching the subject of the Peace Corps. This definitely made the interview go more smoothly.
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Joe Stapanek interview - Julia Bentley SHIP ANTH: Regional...

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