Thanks for the compliment. That sort of feedback (even in the negative) is rare. Each one is an ego boost. If you ever want to talk to me about one issue or another, don't hesitate to contact me.
Of course I would. You should keep in mind that MSU is also a good school for Africa, just not as elaborate as IU. MSU also does good work in applied anthropology. You might consider getting in touch with Rita Gallan (Although she may have retired by now). Her husband, Bernard was a professor of mine and he's good about general advice, but his specialization is Taiwan , as is Rita's). I'm not sure if they are even in East Lansing now, but if you can find them, they can give you advice "in the flesh." One other person you might try to find, if she's still in East Lansing, is Kim Lay, who was a student of mine at UofL. She left anthropology because she found it didn't quite fit what she wanted, but she can help as well. Unfortunately, I don't know as many people at the other schools you've mentioned. Almost all the people who were at IU (I think you're right about the distance) when I was there are gone.
A friend of mine once asked: "Are your grandchildren as perfect as mine?" To which I replied: "Of course, if not more so." So, the simple answer is they're great. One is six and starting first grade. She lives in Forest Hills, NY. The other two are three (starting pre-school) and 20 months (not doing much except acquiring words at a rapid rate). And, yes, retirement has given us a bit more time to go to Oak Park (near Chicago) or Forest Hills. But it's also the case that I haven't really gotten out of the habits I built up over so long. I'm teaching a course this semester and will be presentin g a paper at the African Studies meetings in NYC in October. So things do seem to be moving along. I'll get to your stuff in a few days. Take care.
I've only been back from the field for a few months, so I haven't had the opportunity, other than a few informal phone calls. Family reunifications are the best, though! Lubkeman at GW and Brown is doing a pretty major demography/anthropology project with the extended Liberian community in the US. Maybe you'd like to check him out? http://www.gwu.edu/~elliott/faculty/lubkemann.cfm