Around the World, Here at Home

See archives of this program below, where you're taken somewhere new in the world as we interview an Ozarks resident who was born in a different country.  Learn about other cultures, traditions, and the diversity we have here in the Ozarks. Around the World, Here and Home discontinued production in 2014. See archives below.

Belgian Teenager Finds Ozarks People Kind, Their Hobbies 'Odd'

Jul 14, 2014
Jennifer Davidson, KSMU

Good morning, and welcome to Around the World, Here at Home. I’m Jennifer Davidson. In today’s interview, we travel to a country about the size of Maryland. It was occupied by Germany during both World Wars and its capital, Brussels, is home to numerous organizations, including the EU and NATO:  it’s Belgium.   Joining us to talk about her home country—and her experiences here in the Ozarks—is Marie Vanderelst, who just finished a year as an exchange student at West Plains High School.

Today, we’re looking at a country that’s unique among its African neighbors in that, except for a brief time under Italian occupation, it remained independent through the era of colonization—and that independence stretches back over 2,000 years: Ethiopia. 


Dr. Dawit Weldemichael, a psychiatrist with Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, grew up in Addis Ababa, the capital city. He was a studious child, he says – unlike most children in his city.

“We don’t have any restrictions in Ethiopia. A child is born, you find him on the street [playing],” he said.

Good morning, and welcome to Around the World, Here at Home on KSMU.

Today, we hear the remarkable story of a woman who was born near the Baltic Sea, in the independent country of Latvia.  Ilga Vise is well known in Springfield for her years at Drury University, Missouri State, and as a volunteer with the League of Women Voters and other causes. She’s also someone very special to me as a friend and a mentor.

She still remembers the vivid scene from her childhood in Latvia when the Gypsy wagons rolled into town once a year.

Welcome to Around the World, Here at Home. I’m Jennifer Davidson. Today, we highlight the country with the second largest population in the world: over one billion people.  It has 14 official languages, but hundreds of others thrive, too.   It borders the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, and rises to the majestic Himalaya Mountains in the north.  Hinduism is the way of life for most, but Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, too, have a huge presence here:  India.

I spoke with Protima and Rabindra Roy, both longtime professors at Drury University in Springfield.

Good morning, and welcome to Around the World, Here at Home.  I’m Jennifer Davidson.  This morning, we’ll hear about the country that's geographically the second largest in Europe—one that was, in the 10th and 11th centuries, the  center of the most powerful Slavic state in Europe:  Ukraine. Under Soviet rule, Ukraine endured two forced famines, before finally gaining its independence in 1991.

Good morning, and Welcome to Around the World, Here at Home.

Today, we’re headed south – way south – to a land conquered by Spanish colonists in 1512 after rumors that it bore silver mountains.  It was home to the president Juan Peron and his popular wife, Eva, who inspired the Broadway musical “Evita.” Today, it’s the eighth largest country in the world, and the largest Spanish-speaking one:  Argentina.

Welcome to Around the World, Here at Home. I’m Jennifer Davidson. Today, we travel to southeastern Europe, to a land the Roman Empire conquered nearly 2000 years ago.  It was home to the prince who inspired the character Count Dracula, and it boasts of rugged mountains and a coastline along the Black Sea:  Romania.  We hear from Drury University biology professor Ioana Popescu, who was a college student in the capital of Bucharest when the Iron Curtain of communism fell, and president Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown and executed.

Jassim Al-Roubaie now lives in Nixa, but was born to a Kurdish family in the heart of Iraq.

“I grew up in a beautiful city called Baghdad. Or, it used to be beautiful,” Al-Roubaie said. “It didn’t matter if you were Sunni, or Shiite, or Kurdish, or Arabic. Unfortunately, now it does.”

His dad wanted him to go to college in America. So, he found himself in a Catholic college in Kansas City.

Welcome to Around the World, Here at Home. I’m Jennifer Davidson. Today, we’re exploring a country that’s a parliamentary democracy in southeast Europe: The Republic of Albania. And we’re seeing this country through the eyes of Arta Davis, who grew up there, and who now calls the Ozarks home.

"We didn't have many toys, and we didn't have access to TV and the media. We played a lot outdoors," she said. Soccer, chess, tag, and reading were a big part of her childhood, she says.

Helena Peric, a 6'1" freshman volleyball player at Missouri State University-West Plains, was still a baby when her family home was set ablaze in Croatia.

The wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s were fought mostly between small republics who wanted their independence, and a strong central government in Belgrade, Serbia.  The ugly conflicts brought to the world stage centuries of ethnic tension. 

Good morning, and welcome to “Around the World, Here at Home."  I’m Jennifer Davidson.  In today’s segment, we’ll hear the story of an Ozarks woman who once called the southeast country of Laos home.  Her life as a teenager was turned upside down when war from neighboring Vietnam bled into her country, and into her family. Today, Sang Bealer owns a Thai restaurant on historic Walnut Street in downtown Springfield:  Bangkok City. This is her story.