1: Lynn Purnell Hagan ’77, 2010 Legacy Award Recipient and WFSN member
If you like what you read here, come and join me at the WFSN First Thursday, December 4 at Messina Hof Wine Bar from 5:30 to 7:30 (half price glasses of wine!) to hear more of this story. Bring a friend (they don’t have to be Aggies…or women!)
I pick up my story in the year 2001. It was a banner year. I closed my successful psychotherapy office in Louisiana to move to, of all places, Kuwait. I can honestly say, and Don will attest to this, I did not want to go. I was shutting down what I had worked toward for 5 years of grad school. On the other hand, how could I not move to Kuwait? What a challenge and what an adventure. I had no idea how much of a challenge and adventure it would become.
Fast forward to June when I arrived in Kuwait. Living on a compound next to the Saudi border, was not idyllic, to say the least. Bored and with little to do, I contemplated abandoning this misadventure and heading home. Fast forward to September 11.
2: Entrance to Saudi Arabian Texaco Compound
Five miles from the Saudi border. On the banks of the Arabian (no, not Persian) Gulf. I asked Don, “What is going to happen to us?” The world for everyone was turned upside down. But living in a Saudi compound, thousands of miles from home, put a different spin on things. Things would no longer be boring. I would no longer be bored.
Shortly after the attacks, the Medical Unit of the US Embassy in Kuwait contacted me. The medical officer told me I was the only western psychotherapist in the country and he needed me to come to the embassy to discuss some cases. Heck ya. I am all over that!
3: Approach to US Embassy in Kuwait
The case was a high level security individual, a US citizen, who had a terror plan of his own – borne out of his heretofore undiagnosed PTSD. We began the process of sending him home for his, and national, security. Other cases presented themselves soon after. A suicide pact among local American students who wanted to be sent home. Humanitarians who were being evacuated from Iraq who witnessed and experienced such horrors, I will not elaborate here. These were some of the cases I handled at the embassy.
At the same time the embassy was contacting me, I received a call from The Scientific Center of Kuwait, a science education complex comprised of an IMAX theatre, a hands-on science center, and the largest aquarium in the Middle East. Long story short here, I became the director of Discovery Place and Education – managing a cadre of Kuwaiti nationals and international staff. Wow.
4: The Scientific Center of Kuwait
5: On my way to work
Kuwait is a small country…about the size of Connecticut. I drove about ½ way – one way – every day going to work. Now, add to these events, terror attacks across the country and the military buildup. I drove past check points and tanks, and burned out cars. I met personnel at a mix of locales, including barricaded hotels. That was the milieu. Social work colleagues in the USA told me that I should not do it. It was putting myself too much at risk. My thought – how could I not? People were in need of help and I felt it would be unethical not to make myself available. So, I did it. Time after time. Day after day.
As a result, it gave me an experience beyond anything I could have imagined. We spend 6 years in Kuwait. Having been assigned a war zone, it was time for Chevron to send us to a more favorable post – Scotland!
Scotland was far less exciting albeit much more beautiful. After being there a couple of years we took on the task of the local Aggie Club. We hosted three Musters and had a couple of special outings and football game viewings (a couple of days after the games). We made it into the Texas Aggie Magazine many times…you probably saw us!
Great stories you say. But what does this have to do with Aggie Women and Aggie Values? Aggie Core Values go beyond what we can do for our school. It must transcend into the world at large. Scotland enabled me to be a good Ag and host Musters and get-togethers. Kuwait enabled me to be a world citizen embodying selfless service, cultural respect, integrity, and excellence. For me, I have reworked an old adage, turning it into “Think locally but act globally.” Now, Aggie Women, it’s your turn! Gig ‘Em!!
January’s First Thursday for WFSN will be January 8, 5:30-7:30, at Messina Hof Wine Bar. Come join us as we learn more about leading and following – and learn a new dance step. We hope to see you there…oh, yes…and bring a friend!