Life still needs learning all the times!!

Life still needs learning all the times!!
posted on May, 14,2014
Arunee Namamuti, Professional Fellow in Economic Empowerment Program
Finally, I have arrived at Missoula City, Montana after my long journey from Chiang Mai, Thailand which took more than 20 hours in the flights. But in morning on the 4th May 2014, I found that Missoula is a great peaceful and beautiful city. I was so lucky to be chosen as a part of this wonderful program which has a lot of things to be learnt during the next five weeks.
I have been welcomed and oriented by Ms. Kelsy Stamm, Project Manager at Mansfield Center, University of Montana. The orientation was very informative since all details were written day by day. It was very useful!! In the afternoon, I have brought around for city tour in order to get to know some interesting places.
In the first week, mostly I have spent my time in the Conference room at Mansfield Center for many topic of lectures, for instance, American by the Numbers by Dr. Suzy Hamtom which was so fun and also gained a lot of information about American by playing with Numbers. An introduction to U.S. Government, Gender and Economics in the U.S. and Montana, History and Current Politics of Development Planning have also introduced to us in order to broaden our mind and have a big picture of U.S. However, Introduction to U.S Business Communication, Intercultural Conflict Resolution & Negotiation were very useful for me to know more about American cultures.
Moreover, It was a great opportunity to meet Mayor John Engen. I have learnt a lot what he has done for his community especially his work on Homeless people was very interesting for me. On the 8th May 2014, I went to visit the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes at the place called Pablo. The whole day program was really impressed me. Starting with Ms. Germaine White who brought me back to the history of Native American then many people from tribes came to share their successful stories for doing business. In the late afternoon, Mr. Jean Matt presented his wonderful work about the Green House Project. He has done a great job to preserve value trees and herbs not only for people today but also for the next generation. But the most important point that I learnt was whatever those people try to do it’s not just only for themselves but also for all the people in their tribes. So that would be a thing which could make them be united until today.
One of the most enjoy activity that I love was “Group Service Project at Food Bank”. Of course, I was really enjoy to do volunteer work with friends for Missoula people. It also inspired me a lot in terms of the idea to run the Food Bank for people who are facing with food security issue in their lives. It was a big learning for me! So I have to keep learning more on this project.
On Friday, Ms. Deena Mansour, Associate Director of Mansfield Center gave guided me how is Action Plan looks like and how to write an effective funding proposals. It was very informative and of course I learnt a lot from her.
Besides, on the day when I visited Glacier National Park was also impressed me. I thought I could not take my eyes off very beautiful scenes in front of me. I spent more an hour to take a drive to go around and see the park. At the same, another group of my friends spent their time for hiking up to the mountain. After that, we shared our ideas what we learnt from our visit. For myself, what I learnt today was how Montana people are proud of their park!
That’s just only one week in Missoula. I have learnt a lot of things. But I still be here more than 2 weeks for home stay program and working with fellows. So there are many things have to be learnt more for me!!


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