By Becca, Tufts 1+4 Participant

Capoeira is art in motion. It’s dance, it’s gymnastics, it’s martial arts. When performed well, it’s two bodies moving as one in harmony. It starts with the premise of constant motion. A simple back and forth step called ginga is the foundation of everything else; stop moving, and you get got. From this base it builds, adding kicks, cartwheels, and other moves. With practice and strength, the moves become increasingly more complex and impressive, but these moves are only tools. One can have the best tools available, which in Capoeira terms equates to handstands, aerials, and a thousand unnamed calisthenic feats, but the real skill comes in how these tools are deployed. Independently, any of these moves may look like a cool trick, but when two partners are in tune with one another, a game of Capoeira is an exercise in connection, the composition of a masterpiece.

My first Capoeira class was nothing but discomfort. After being given the wrong class times, I unknowingly arrived 20 minutes late to class. I entered mid-class to a room of men, all Brazilian, all experienced, and none with a word of English. It seemed to be a learn-by-doing approach, except I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The only thing I could gather was the format of the class: walk around the room for a minute, then make eye contact with someone and partner up, play for a few minutes, disconnect, and repeat. I started walking, and as everyone mildly-approachable paired off, I was left in the center with a large man, clearly of exceptional skill. He grasped my hand, we crouched, and the match began. He turned out into a slow-motion cartwheel. I stood in awe. My feet remained firmly planted on the ground, so uncertain of the right thing to do that I opted for nothing at all. He began the rhythmic back and forth of the ginga. I stood planted. He motioned for me to follow his lead. I sort of…swayed? I blink, and my partner’s hands and feet have switched places. While still upside down he plants his foot in my abdomen. Cartwheels, headstands, and 1-handed handstands overtake me. I quickly realize that for this man, gravity is more of a suggestion than a rule. The match seemed to last ages. Eventually, the master calls out Caminha! (walk) saving me from myself, and we disconnect. This process repeated several times, and eventually, sweet relief, the end of class.

There was no corporeal discomfort; I’d essentially stood in place for an hour. But what I’d lacked in physical discomfort, I more than made up for psychologically. I was lost and frustrated. I’d been asked to play a game without being given the rules. I didn’t even feel challenged, just really, really, confused. But I went back. And again after that. It’s been several weeks and I’m beginning to understand. By limitation of strength, coordination, and unwavering loyalty to gravity, my toolbox is still incredibly limited, but somehow this doesn’t matter. I show up to class, clad in the traditional all-white garb. The more I play, the more confidence I gain, and I begin to connect, becoming more in tune with my partner’s movements. Capoeira is a game with no losers. It challenges the body, but more importantly, it challenges the mind.

I could offer a lengthy extended-metaphor about how Capoeira contains symbolism for life: just as the ginga never stops, neither does life, or how the best kicks come from using the momentum of the opponent, so go with the flow; the medium lends itself quite handily to such compositions. But all of this would cheapen the fact that I really have learned lessons from Capoeira. My first class, I was so consumed with trying to learn the rules that I didn’t bother playing. But the discomfort didn’t stop me from going back, and for this I am grateful. Only after I gave myself permission to try something did I have any hope of success. I’m learning to connect without speaking a word, extending the capabilities of my own body, and beginning to understand that if I wait for someone to tell me the ‘right’ way of doing things, I’ll spend a lifetime waiting.

I’m still really bad. I can’t cartwheel to save my life, and my handstand is more of a hand-jump -hoping-my-legs stay-up-more-than-a-second. I don’t have many tools, but I’m learning to deploy what I’ve got. I’ve mastered the ginga. I understand how to dodge a kick, and I’ve begun to give myself permission to initiate responses, formulate combinations, even deploying my signature hand-jump every now and again. But the one thing I will not do is stand there. I need no permission to explore.

A House Divided, Two Nations at Stake

By David, Tufts 1+4 Participant

In a flash, over two months of my bridge-year odyssey has passed. This period will forever be remembered  as a significant milestone, a time when I succeeded in the enormous task of settling myself into this new life abroad. Being an American living in Brazil, an individual invested in two distinct societies, this month has been especially tumultuous regarding two events that have dominated the news networks as well as community conversation. With political polarization, media sensationalism, and cynicism aside, these two particular events have affected me extremely deeply, compelling me to write this article to emphasize a specific component that these two events share, a component that endangers our respective democracies. I further reiterate the crucial role we all have as citizens to protect and defend the integrity of the institutions that govern our livelihood.



For the past month, American politics and people were intensely split over the Senate confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. Initially, President Trump’s selection to the highest court in the land seemed guaranteed: Kavanaugh had an impeccable education at Yale Law School, a prestigious career at the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and was rated “well qualified” by the American Bar Association, their highest rating for Supreme Court aptitude. Yet, what seemed like a certain confirmation took a sharp turn when three women came forward and accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault during their high school and college years. The first woman, Christine Blasey Ford, was called to testify before the U.S. Senate. 

The nation watched as Ford gave her calm yet powerful recount of what Kavanaugh did to her on that night in 1982. The nation watched as Kavanaugh gave his fiery and passionate defense,  primarily accusing the Democratic Party of conspiring to ruin his reputation. Ultimately, the nation watched the Senate confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in the second narrowest margin in U.S. history (50-48, split predominantly along party lines). His accession to the highest court in the land has created one of, if not the, most conservative Supreme Court in American history, defining precedent for years to come.


Meanwhile, political tensions in Brazil have been amounting in the past four years, exacerbated by (but not limited to): the largest economic recession (with thirteen million people out of work), the largest corruption scandal (Operation Car Wash, with over R$3.6 billion [~$1 billion USD] in misappropriated funds), and the most violent year (with 2017 a record year, with over 63,000 homicides nationwide), in their entire history. The nation is desperate for an alternative to the notoriously corrupt left-leaning political establishment, one that has ruled the nation for decades. And many citizens believe they have found their answer for the 2018 general election: Jair Bolsonaro, a former paratrooper and congressman who has promised to lead Brazil under his nationalistic Christian right-wing ideology.

Bolsonaro has promised to purify the corruption in Brasilia through a crackdown of left-wing economic policies as well as to combat the escalating crime through strict police reform. Yet, he is notorious and controversial throughout the country for his views on same-sex unions/marriages, the equality of women, and civil rights. He has mentioned he would rather his son “die in a car accident than be gay”, stated that his daughter was produced “out of a moment of weakness”, as well as stoked hatred of refugees by calling them “the scum of the earth.” Most of all, Bolsonaro is a proponent of returning Brazil to a military dictatorship, which ruled the nation two decades prior and was infamous for its egregious use of torture. Despite an entire nationwide movement uniting against his presidential campaign, #EleNao (hashtag “not him”), Bolsonaro has led the polls for most of the race.

Bolsonaro carried 46% of the vote during the election on October 7. Although it was significantly higher than his competitors, it was not enough to break majority and win the presidency outright, prompting a second-round runoff election. On the October 28th election, Bolsonaro defeated his opponent Fernando Haddad, the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) candidate. He carried 55% of the vote nationwide. In my home state, Santa Catarina, alone, Bolsonaro carried just over 75% of the vote. His inauguration will take place January of next year.


My aim in writing this article is not to impress my political leanings to those who read it. Whatever “side” you think I am should not be important to you and should not affect how you see the issue I am addressing in this piece, one which requires a multiparty solution. 

A diversity of views is the crucial basis of a functioning democracy. Politics, at its root, is the discourse of varying beliefs relating to how the government should be run to best benefit its constituents. Simply put, it is where numerous ideologies/beliefs/opinions clash in deciding what would be best in making people’s lives better. Political discourse is an essential part of maintaining the integrity of the democratic system that both America and Brazil share. This is not what I am contending with.

Yet, the reality is that politics is never so pure-intentioned, clear-cut, and idealistic. Politics is complicated, dirty, and corrupt everywhere; it only varies to relative degrees between differing nations and bureaucratic levels. In spite of this, as civilians in a democracy, we have the power of the vote. It is this power of the vote that places a check on politicians and government that can so easily become misconstrued. It is this vote that we must use wisely, as it is all that most of us will ever have.

The issue I am trying to address in this piece is to reaffirm our commitment in working together in deciding the direction that is best for the nation to go. We all have a superordinate goal to form a “more perfect Union” through civil dialogue and critical thinking, to make our countries better for ourselves and the generations that follow. In that obligation, we all, whether you are left, right, or center, have a crucial role in protecting our democracies from those who use hatred and fear as a platform for power

A platform of hatred and fear promotes tribalism, where we ignore those that challenge our beliefs, only associating with those that affirm our beliefs in antagonizing those on the other side. Tribalism makes an easy situation for demagogues to rise to power, as it permits scapegoating of the opposition as a guise for the leader’s true motives. A diversity of beliefs in a democracy only works when the opposing parties listen and construct, rather than turn away and accuse. 

This is the fact that many of us have neglected when we allowed Kavanaugh and Bolsonaro, and many others, to rise to power. Americans have neglected to realize this when our politicians permitted Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, the highest seat in the land in a position that is rooted in impartial constitutional analysis, despite his accusatory scapegoat rhetoric towards the opposition party. Even more, Brazilians have neglected this when they placed their hopes in Bolsonaro for the presidency, a man who loathes and seeks to undermine anything that is not himself: asylum seekers, minorities, the poor, the LGBT community, non-Christians, women. 

In our obligations as active and engaged citizens, we must, at the very least, be skeptical of those who use hatred and fear as a promotional platform. Regardless of the side one is on, when discussing the policies that govern our lives, it is crucial that we assess them in an pragmatic sustainable manner, rather than getting swept up in fleeting emotion. We must first ask ourselves this simple question: why are they making us fear and despise?

In the best interests of our country and its future, we must be extremely careful of what kind of alternatives we select for power, especially those that proliferate on a basis of tribalism. We have to remind ourselves, even in the most desperate times, to truly think rationally about the choices we make, as the most popular alternative may not be the right alternative. Most of all, we must reconcile and settle our grievances, paving a new of path of collaboration towards a goal higher than our differences. We must reject the means that numerous politicians have used to divide us and create chaos. They do it to advance their ends, not ours.

A house divided cannot stand. Especially during times like these. Especially in the system we have.


Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. “Kavanaugh Is Sworn In After Close Confirmation Vote in Senate.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Oct. 2018,

Watts, Jonathan. “Operation Car Wash: The Biggest Corruption Scandal Ever?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 1 June 2017,

Phillips, Tom. “Brazil’s Election Explained: the Top Candidates, Key Issues and Stakes.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Oct. 2018,




I Need a New Watch

By Laura, Tufts 1+4 Participant

Time is different in Brazil.

There are many reasons why – I went from British summer time with the sun setting at 11pm, to it setting here at 6:30pm. We eat lunch anywhere between 1pm and 4pm, and tea just before going to bed. The buses can come up to 20 minutes before or after their scheduled time. At my apprenticeship, a four hour shift can be considered productive even if we just sit and chat the whole time.

Despite all this, on Monday my timing was actually wrong, even for Brazil.

My alarm went off ready to go to my apprenticeship working in environmental education at Comcap – the waste management department of the city council. I rolled out of bed bleary eyed, having stayed up too late the night before spending time with another fellow at Café Cultura, and forgetting the irregularity of the buses on a Sunday night. I had my normal breakfast of granola and fresh Brazilian bananas in the quiet living room; my host parents work from home and my host sister works in the afternoon so I rarely see them before I leave. The sky was clear outside and I laughed at my change of lifestyle – I used to scrabble to find all my A level folders before leaving for the bus, now I dig through my bags to find my sunglasses. 

The bus was later than usual – I whatsapped the fellow who lives near me as she was planning on getting the same bus as me that morning, to let her know that she could still make it. She still wasn’t there when the bus eventually arrived. 15 minutes into the bus ride my phone vibrated in my bag – she had replied seemingly very confused. “How has it gone if it’s 7:16?”.  I turned my wrist to check my watch, forgetting that it wasn’t there.

After a couple more confused messages we established that the time on my phone was an hour ahead – I was fuming. After all, there is nothing you learn to prize more than sleep when it’s so exhausting living in a space where you don’t speak the language. How on earth had my phone just jumped ahead an hour? And why had no one else’s? Why had I been sat at the bus stop at 7am?

I realized that I don’t normally wear my sunglasses at the bus stop because the sun isn’t normally that low in the sky at that time. I realized that the neighbor who normally gets the same bus as me wasn’t at the bus stop. And I remembered that I do normally hear one of my host parents showering during breakfast even if I don’t always see them. 

Annoyed at myself, I slumped off the bus and went to get a pão de queijo to pass the time – I now had the choice of arriving at my work an hour before everyone else or sitting at the bus station for an hour. With a surprisingly good bakery and an eBook on my phone, I chose the latter. I messaged another fellow to see if her phone had done the same thing, it hadn’t but she said that “it’s Temer’s fault”. At, what I now knew to be 7:30 on a Monday morning, I was too confused and delirious not to believe this, and I googled what President Temer could possibly have to do with my phone’s clock.

It turns out, in one of the most random pieces of legislation I’ve ever read about, President Temer decided to change when the south of Brazil would change between summer and standard time, and also alter which states used summer time. Apparently my phone provider didn’t get the memo, and jumped forward an hour two weeks early. Still grumpy over my lost hour of sleep, I was reminded that I’d have to do the same thing again in a fortnight.

Lots of people at home have been asking what Brazil is like. This is a hard question to answer, but I guess this experience gives you some insight: more sun than I’d ever seen at home, questionable public transport, a relaxed pace of life, unbelievable politics and unpredictable days. Oh, and technology doesn’t work very well. My watch broke a week after arriving and I’m now skeptical of my phone.

This morning it was very sunny again. As I reached into my bag to put on my sun glasses, I caught myself and glanced at my phone. Not again my friend.

My bus stop view

Why We Plant Roses

by Rebecca, Tufts 1+4 Participant

As I sprinted up to the office, I looked down at my phone…9:01. Damn. It was day 2 and I was already late. For as long as I can remember, the value of punctuality has been drilled into my consciousness. “5 minutes early is 10 minutes late” a YMCA director once told me. “Punctuality is the ultimate demonstration of respect for people you interact with,” said one teacher. “Don’t be late, it’s annoying” said my manager at Starbucks. I knew what those 60 seconds represented and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of defeat. And as I took those last steps up, the receptionist casually said “Carin ainda não está aqui.” All that stress and my boss isn’t even here?? I walked over to her office, set down my bag, and took a seat. 5 minutes passed. 10 minutes dragged on into 20. Then 30. 45. Eventually, Carin showed up. As soon as she arrived, she headed to the kitchen for café de manhã, the ultimate culmination of Brazilian culture: coffee and chat. I had arrived, heart pounding, at 9:01. It was nearly 10:30 before we got to work. This fluid view of time was not a one-time occurrence, but rather the norm. We were told in orientation to expect this. However, I’m fresh off a stressful high school workload demanding a well-scheduled plan of attack and a job for which producing less than 9 fancy coffee drinks in 5 minutes is unacceptable. A bullet point on an orientation PowerPoint could not adequately prepare me for this transition.

Initially, I judged this cultural norm quite consciously. The habit seemed so clearly inefficient and impractical; what’s the use in sitting around waiting when there’s work to be done. I thought that with patience and deliberate action I could change the way my boss viewed my time…and her own. I saw every coffee break (and there are many of them, often several times a day), long walks to communicate face to face what could’ve been said in a text, every moment spent chatting as lost, time that could’ve been spent planting a few more seedlings, sweeping a few more trails, planning a few more projects. In viewing these periods, I saw only what wasn’t being accomplished.

As time goes on, I’m beginning to understand more tangibly what it means to assimilate into a culture without judgment. Coffee breaks are a chance to learn more about my colleagues, and through that, the culture and language which is my whole reason for being here. Long walks through the park are an opportunity to appreciate the amazing scenery, learn the trails of the park, and take in the crocodiles, turtles, monkeys, and more which surround me every day, but go unappreciated from the concrete walls of the office.

This has given me cause for pause, an opportunity to reflect on the United States’ addiction with production and work. We get so absorbed in the completion of tasks that we lose sight of our reasons for doing them. I like clarity and discrete concepts of good and bad, but comparative cultural analysis is anything but. I’m learning there’s value in staying actively engaged with one’s colleagues and surroundings, even at the expense of time. The people I work with know far more about each other than any workplace I know of in the US. As such, they have a greater appreciation for one another and I would venture, have fewer workplace disputes because of this.  I recognize all of this, I appreciate it, and I’m learning about myself and my own paradigms. However, the pursuit of cultural sensitivity and awareness does not have to mean a complete rejection of the culture in which I was socialized. I spoke with my boss about this experience. Initially, she was taken aback; ‘uma máquina de trabalho’ she called me, a work machine. But with time and patience on both sides, we’re finding a balance, implementing strategies sensitive to both parties. For instance, my schedule’s been shifted so that I now arrive at work at 9:30, increasing the likelihood that my boss will have arrived by the time that I do. And I do arrive at 9:30. But I also join my colleagues for their many coffee breaks, relish our long walks through the park, take in all that I can in spare moments. Time can never truly be lost if every moment is a chance for learning and enrichment. After all, there’s no use in planting roses if you don’t stop to smell them.

Inside the Enclosure

By David, Tufts 1+4 Participant

“David, let’s go to the zoo.” These were six words that once foreshadowed afternoons of pure joy during my childhood: a time when I excitedly zipped around from cage to cage, an adventurer in search of exotic beasts.

Animals were my childhood passion, my first love. National Geographic magazines and Planet Earth documentaries were staples before bedtime. My very first Christmas gift was a pair of binoculars, for wildlife watches. When most kids concerned themselves with dolls or monster trucks, I busily kept a little zoo in my house with insects found in the yard (my parents quickly shut that down). Ask six-year old me and I would for sure say that my greatest dream was to work with wildlife.

I would have never anticipated that twelve years later, this dream finally came true. It just seemed that all of the pieces, one by one, fell into place, as some fate awaited me. First, I selected to do a bridge year before jumping straight into university. Second, Global Citizen Year sent me to live seven months in Brazil, which happened to be the most biodiverse nation on the planet. Finally, third, I got assigned to a wildlife rescue park, where I would directly care for everything from parrots to penguins, toucans to tamanduas, and owls to ocelots. On paper, I had everything I could have ever wished for.


Yet, in real life, I truly had no idea what was in store. Up until now, I have engaged with wildlife in the way most people have: outside looking in, secured by distance or a chain link fence. Yet, nothing was more surreal than being inside the enclosure on my first day. For the first time in my life, there was nothing between me (besides a hose and petty squeegee mop) and the beast. And knowing that this would be the reality of my next seven months.

Whether it be a flock of aggressive Amazon parrots or a troop of crazy capuchin monkeys, I learned quickly the need to tread carefully or be attacked. After a cage’s worth of cleaning, feeding, and not-getting-killed, I am covered in fruit stains, fish guts, or animal feces. The animals don’t seem to be impressed with my work, carelessly dirtying up the enclosure I had so arduously cleaned. Forget the rosy image of blossoming human-animal friendships. As a newbie on the job, my main goal was getting out of there alive.


As funny as it is to describe my first working week, in the moment, it was one filled with cognitive dissonance. It was one when I constantly questioned my commitment and passion. Had I been disillusioned in my passion for wildlife? Why does reality feel so wrong when on paper it felt so right and destined? Can I even survive seven months cleaning this many cages? As I continued to obsessively question myself during the first weeks, one particular Chinese parable constantly popped up in my head. This parable perfectly represented the worst of what I would discover out of my experience:

There was once a man who loved dragons. He loved dragons so much that he hung images of them in his home, wore them on his clothes, and dreamed about them at night. He loved them more than anything in the world.

The man’s devotion to dragons reached the ears of the Dragon King, who decided to pay him a visit. He snaked down from the heavens to the Earth, curling himself around the man’s house, awaiting his arrival.

The Dragon King expected a grand reception upon the man’s arrival home. Yet, he could not be farther from the truth. Upon seeing the dragon’s serpent-like body, his golden fins, and the wispy grey smoke exhaling from his breath, the man screamed in terror and fled for the hills.

It was too late that the Dragon King realized that, in reality, the man only liked the idea of dragons. However, to meet one in person just became too real.

I saw myself as that the man, fascinated by the dragon of my life: this opportunity I have in wildlife conservation. I have always loved its concept, enough to devote an entire year to its cause. Yet, I feared that once I discovered its truth, it would become too much for me.


However, looking back after a month on job, I am certain it will not turn out like that. Despite each day’s “terrors and toils”, I only feel more exhilarated to come back the next day, returning to confront the next set of challenges. I accept that it is not the idyllic experience that people make it out to be, because it represents something so much more: a higher goal with a deeper meaning, one that I can feel but have yet to discover it fully. I have since rejected that parable, instead, choosing to remind myself to embrace the discomfort of my new life and purpose. Because now, with more time and experience, I know where the gain and growth lies: inside the enclosure.



by Laura, Tufts 1+4 Participant

Barely 24 hours in Brazil, the National Museum of Brazil burnt down. On Sunday evening, the day we completed our 30 hour journey to Florianopolis, it caught fire, and was destroyed by the time we woke up. In the run up to an election, discussion of political blame was immediate: austerity and a lack of investment in culture, reliability of emergency services and the excessive spending on the World Cup and Olympic Games. Although these conversations were inevitable and essential, my initial reaction was of sadness, and almost mourning. I had never heard of this museum beforehand, or known what it held but I deeply resonated with the photos I saw online of the residents of Rio crying in front of the carcass of the Portuguese Palace, because the value of holding objects in places and in ways accessible to educate all people is something I have experienced many times.

I have just started my apprenticeship working at Comcap – the waste disposal department of the city council in Florianopolis. Only a couple of days in, I have been struck by the sheer volume of waste a relatively small city can produce. The school children on tours are reminded that the first two “r’s” (reduce and reuse) are just as important as recycling. Being presented with the reality of consumerist society, my brain began running in circles; how do we stop producing so much stuff? And how, as a species that differentiate ourselves from all others by our ability to make tools, do we attempt to use them more frugally? In a book I was presented with, there was one phrase: “O  lixo e o sobra entre o desejo e a necessidade do ser humano” (roughly translates to “Rubbish and leftovers are a  necessary part of being human” ), which encapsulated the precarious position that human material culture holds in our world, and its importance. Remembering a time that the value of material culture far outweighed its problems in my judgement, I wanted to share one of my experiences working at the Blackden Heritage Site in Goostrey, Cheshire:

I had arrived early one day to Blackden, and was waiting in the visitor’s seating area for Tim, the resident archaeologist, to arrive and continue sorting the pottery we had begun the day before. Alan wandered in and spotted me waiting, and walked over with a medium sized plastic box in his hands. He presented me with a stone and asked me what I thought. I was slightly taken a back, having never had any experience with artifacts older than the 1200s, but decided to give it a go. It seemed to fit snugly in my hand in one particular orientation, with a rounded edge in my palm and a dent for my thumb, leaving a blunted blade at the top. No doubt it was a heavy duty tool, impossible for use in projectile hunting, so I came to the conclusion that it may have been a construction tool, most likely from the upper European Stone Age. Incorrect, I was informed. “Try again,” he said. I was struggling by this point, and started hypothesizing the ritual use of the tool – in my small hands it really seemed impossible for the blade to have had a mobile use. What I had failed to consider, as Alan then told me, was that not all human had hands as small as ours, as not all humans were homo sapiens. Now realizing the age and importance of the tool I had in my hands, I put it carefully back in the box as Alan explained that this tool was actually made by homo heidelbergensis in excess of 200,000 years ago.

Objects tell stories. By holding objects in our hands, we can cross cultures, millennia, and even species.

In the “Museu do Lixo”, some of the most interesting rubbish thrown away in the city is stored – it is both shocking in wastefulness and presents a fascinating material cultural history simultaneously. To work there I have already realized will be a great privilege, and maybe and I will begin to reach more clarity in my own mind on the place of human material culture in a world with a degrading environment. Every day at my apprenticeship I help to decide what is kept, what is thrown and what is burnt. When is the story an object holds invaluable and when is it a pollutant; when is something a physical form of education and when it is excess, and when is the world is a poorer place if an object is lost to a fire?

I plan to visit Rio this year. There, I won’t get to greet Luzia, the oldest human skull found in southern America. And I won’t get to see or handle the invaluable indigenous collection that her people left behind in the National Museum. But I endeavor to learn as much as I can about Brazil now; by holding the stuff of such a diverse and complex country in my own, homo sapien’s hands.