Thursday, October 8, 2015

The beginning of OLLI

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI, which is a nationwide program of education for seniors, has a branch in Dummerston, and the 6-week fall session began last Monday. There is a morning and afternoon session, and this fall, the morning session is about Africa, and the afternoon is about water. Both promise to be very interesting. Prof. Tom Toleno of Marlboro College, a psychologist, has spent quite a bit of time in Malawi, on a Fulbright scholarship, teaching at a university in  the northern city of Mzuzu. This course is a very down-to-earth account of what it was like for him to go to Malawi with his family and live there, what cultural adjustments had to be made, and what he learned about Malawi, and Africa in general, from that experience. Since he is an entertaining speaker, and as he freely admits, something of a trouble-maker, this will be interesting.

The course on water is a comprehensive look at the whole range of issues relating to water, its nature, use, distribution, cost, etc., past, present and future. Six different people will lead the six sessions. The first session was led by Madeline Gotkowitz, a research hydrologist with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey. She really knew her stuff and provided a huge amount of information about water - where it is found, how much is available for human use, how it is obtained, how it is used, etc. This is an extremely timely subject, especially in light of the drought in California, where pumping out deep ground water is causing the center of the state to sink at a rate of 1-2 inches per month! That is causing all kinds of havoc with roads and bridges, just for starters, and threatening huge problems for the future in flood conditions. 

Katie and Savanna are able to join us for the afternoon session, which is very nice. 
During the lunch break, we fit in a little walk in the neighborhood, and saw quite a few animals: e.g., sheep, llamas, chickens and dairy cattle. 

             Prof. Tom Toleno

           Fabric from Malawi
                Curious sheep

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