Musings En Route via Emirates


The food is marvelous and seems to appear magically– each time I awaken, there it is!

It feels like First Class. The flight was only 40% filled, so nearly everyone on the team has a choice to stretch out across three seats. I have extra legroom, with no one in front of me or behind me. I have been able to lean back, stretch out, get up to walk around without bothering anyone, enjoying the relative solitude, reading and drifting with my thoughts.

I purchased an issue of Foreign Affairs, with a view to help me put the current conditions of the world into perspective. Our Rotoplast mission has been buffeted by current events. Originally routed to Dubai, we were re-routed through Beijing to avoid flying over Iranian air space with the downing of a passenger airplane in the retaliatory spat with the U.S. But then, with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we re-rerouted to go via Dubai, shifting to fly over Turkey and Iraq en route.

It also so happens that our arrival in New Delhi coincides with the Presidential visit of the Trump entourage, as well as organized protests against recent immigration laws in India.

Meanwhile, we play our part. I found a great quote within one of the Foreign Affairs articles that sums it up:

In the absence of a magic potion for development, the best way to profoundly transform millions of lives is not to try in vain to boost growth. It is to focus squarely on the things that growth is supposed to improve: the well-being of the poor.

Banerjee, A.V. and Dufle, E. “How Poverty End” in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2020, p. 29.

That’s what we are doing with Rotary, and that’s what we are doing with World Space, and what I have personally been doing throughout my career for half a century– discerning where the need is greatest, determining a fruitful strategy, and then taking decisive action!

On this journey, we will affect the lives of about a hundred families who will have made their journey to Unity Hospital in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, India for surgeries to those with cleft palate and severe burn injuries.

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Dr. Shope, the Wandering Scholar

Mime Artist, Author, Educator. Dr. Shope worked as a Science Educator at JPL for 15 years, earned an Ed.D. at USC, and is currently president & CEO of the World Space Foundation.