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Miguel Rodriguez: “You need to get out of town and know better the world.”

Becca Newton

Miguel Rodriguez spoke with the Missouri on Mic team at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in February. He’s an interpreter from South America who spoke about his passion for traveling – and shared a few of the stories he’s gathered along the way.

Missouri on Mic is an oral history and journalism project documenting stories from around the state in its 200th year.

Miguel Rodriguez: I grow [up] in Venezuela, South America.

The story about Venezuela is that I was feel more comfortable because my language, the type of people, you know, the culture of ways, the food. It help you a lot to stay there and just don't go anywhere – like most of my friends never, never left town.

And, you know, I just feel like you need to get out of town and know better the world and see it close to see what the real world is.

When I grow there, I never thought that, you know, the life – how fast or how far is the world, you know, and how big is the world, you know?

And I always dream to come over here, and I have the opportunity in 1985 and I just left the country, and I go visit sometimes.

I live in Tampa, Florida [in] 2007 for about three months, and it was just too hot for me. I was used to Missouri here – Columbia – being here for approximately 36, 37 years.

"My future probably is going to be traveling around the USA... and I might try to do as many states as I can when the COVID [ends]."
Miguel Rodriguez

I like Columbia, the people are more like, friendly. So many things are very nice – like, I live close to the library, and I can walk. I can go to downtown. I can go many, many places walking.

Well, my future probably is going to be traveling around the USA. I was in Las Vegas about two months ago, and I enjoy just meeting people and go to audio with the artists and famous people, you know? And, you know, sit there, and talk to them.

And I might try to do as many states as I can when the COVID [ends].

The thing is – we need to grow. We have a long way to go, a long way to go, and now when the situation when the virus – it's kind of complicated communication with people.

But I think we grow, in a way, we feel like we are more human now because we're in the middle of the crisis.

We're in the middle, you know, of all kinds of stuff. So, we’re kinda scared [with] what's going on, but the same time, it's got to come with lessons to see that in other countries – like third world countries – the type of life they live.

It’s just like here now. Except for us – when I was there, if there’s something about the crisis, we don't even care too much because we don't have a clean water. We don't have enough food.

[It’s] always been like that because, you know, they got more stuff like anywhere. They got more benefits [from the crisis], you know?

Beibei Liu is a student producer for KBIA's Missouri on Mic.
Becca Newton is a student reporter and producer at KBIA. They will graduate from the University of Missouri in spring 2022 with a degree in Multimedia Convergence Journalism and minors in Peace Studies and History.