It was a privilege and honor to have known Dr. Bonine through my professor Dr. Swaim. I learned from a friend that he passed away from cancer a few weeks ago. Dr. Bonine–or Dr. B, as some students would call him, was my McNair mentor and fellow traveler. If it weren’t for his initiative and Dr. Swaim’s support, there would not have been a study abroad trip to Romania through the University of Arizona.
In summer 2010 I traveled to Romania, Republic of Moldova, and Transnistria with Dr. Bonine. I admired his enthusiasm for world cultures and traveling. He inspired me in ways that helped me to think and act like an anthropologist.
On our trekking tour through the Carpathian mountains, Dr. Bonine and I were the ones who lagged behind the rest of the students as we were taking photos of gypsies, landscapes, and village homes. I remember how the group almost always had to wait for us to catch up after we would take amazing photos of the scenes around us. I also remember how Dr. Bonine would show me new techniques using my camera and point me to the right direction so I could take the best photos of my surroundings.
His teaching style was unique in the sense that it taught me to think critically as a traveler and scholar. His philosophy goes well with that of feminist Laurie Finke’s who once stated that,
It’s important to consider the ways in which the sidewalk constrains us, as well as the ways in which we resist such constraint. We might then move on to discover all those footpaths that have worn away the grass or hillsides where countless pedestrians, resisting sidewalks, have found shortcuts to their destinations.
Dr. Bonine was a fearless traveler who chose never to take the traditional route, or “sidewalks” as most people would when traveling to different countries. His risk-taking brought us to Transnistria–a self-declared communist state, where we celebrated his birthday and drank at the famous cognac factory. Traveling cooks the green. Those were his words in response to my question regarding why he liked to travel.
Though we both had our good and bad moments, I cannot say that I regret learning and traveling with Dr. Bonine. I am thankful to have been part of his traveling group and won’t forget the lessons he has taught me.
Click on the link below for more information about Dr. Bonine.
May you rest in peace Dr. B.
At the Sucevita monastery