Friday, January 28, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

6 in the morning

I wake up everyday at 6AM or sometimes 4 AM and I wonder where I am. I don't hear birds, or the rooster, and I panic; then I feel blankets and sheets and realize I am not in my bed, house, or old life. I am in this new one--that is neither mine nor is not. It feels as if I pressed pause on this life--but it continued and I am joining again, in the middle of was once mine just--different.

When the plane took off, the first time I left the African continent in two years I cried. What did I leave behind there? What did I take with me?

I walked through a supermarket, blinded by it artificial glow--dazed by all the choices, I saw a mango. I picked it up and held it and cried-- this was not my market, this was not mango season, it was over--really over.

It needed to end it wasn't mine, and after two years of trying, it still wasn't mine. I carved out my life in that school; and though I built up in the lives of my students, I was just--different.

Being here is really hard, exciting, new, different, sometimes I just want to run. Run away from the questions, the cold, the things. I want to run to a place that's quite and sunny where my head doesn't chatter with car payments or job opportunities, where it just is.

Everything here is so nice, clean, conformed, I feel too worn in it presence. Everything is easy but nothing is simple. How can two just different places exist on the same planet?

Maybe I will go for that run, see where I end up.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill'd with them, and I will fill them in return.)


You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all
that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor denial,
The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas'd, the
illiterate person, are not denied;
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar's tramp, the
drunkard's stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,
The escaped youth, the rich person's carriage, the fop, the eloping couple,
The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the
town, the return back from the town,
They pass, I also pass, any thing passes, none can be interdicted,
None but are accepted, none but shall be dear to me.
Walt Whitman

I am leaving Cairo today after 8 days of an awesome trip. I really love traveling alone, and everyday as soon as I stepped out the door--adventure waited. My favorite part was discovering Cairo on foot--getting lost, finding beautiful spots, sitting and watching the 24 million people pass. I also took enjoyment of things that I haven't experienced in 2 years, hot showers, metros, McDonalds!( I know, I know, I normally don't eat such things in the US, but to me, after two years, this is exotic! )
I have met very warm and friendly people, who have guided me through their lovely city. I will never forget Cairo, although I have a feeling we are not quite finished yet.


Discovering Giza on the back of a camel

Figuring out metro routes, and shared taxi's despite my lack of Arabic.

Getting lost in Islamic Cairo, only to find beautiful Mameluke Palaces and mosques, and the ending up exactly where I wanted to be.

Discovering the red pyramid as I climbed inside and was the only person inside, 5,000 years old.

Curiously staring at mummies, who forever hold their gaze.

Mint tea and hookah in the afternoons.

Quite conversations with strangers, and now friends.

Walking the bridge over the Nile as the sun was setting, in awe, complete awe, of the beauty that the world possess--with a goofy happy grin on my face.

Now I have one more trip before I return home. I will spend a week in London, seeing friends from my time in Ghana. For some of them it has been 5 years since I have seen them, but I know that with good friends, time, it makes no difference.

Off to the next adventure, Insha'Allah!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Walk like an Egyptian

What a world wind this past month has been! I feel like I have no place to start! I'll update more when I have a chance to sit and think but quick takes-- I finished up at my school and went to the coast, beautiful beaches, late nights, wonderful people. My next stop was Nairobi where I officially closed my service--it was exciting and bittersweet, about half my group went home and never made it to that point, so I was a bit proud for making it through.

My next trip was to Lodwar and Lake Turkana-- the travel gods did not smile upon me for this trip that I should describe, in more detail later. I'll just sum up. I sat for a long time in matatus, buses, trucks, and cars, waiting to leave, then I sat in matatus, buses, trucks, and cars, for hours in transit. I ate bad goat which came back to haunt me later. Snakes in beds, crazy "guides" with TB, completely different view on time and urgency. I was with good people and that made a huge difference.

Next I went to Ethiopia, the 10th African country I have visited. Ethiopia was amazing. The history and the culture are so rich, beautiful. From rock carved churches in Lalibela, to the castle of the queen of Sheba, and the arc of the covenant in Axum, it was magical.

Once again the ghost of Lodwar came to haunt my stomach and I dealt with the ghost of goat pasts. I got dysentery...again and was unable to climb Mount Kenya. I decided to high tail it to Egypt where I am right now! Cairo is busy, full of life and energy. I had a staring contest with King Tut this morning (he won), and I'll travel to Giza tomorrow to see the pyramids. I am also enjoying the afternoons with mint tea and hookah with the locals.

Next I'll travel to the U.K. to see some old friends of mine from the University of Ghana, many years ago. I have never left the airports of Europe or the U.K. so this will be a first for me, but I am looking forward to things like, washing machines, cheese, showers!

I do love to travel but this past month, I have dealt with the highs and lows of travel. A part of me knows I am going home so soon, and I long to be there, instead of thinking of it so much, but these next few years I may not be able to travel at all, so I am taking it all in. I love wandering new streets, and as my dad says " I am not lost I am only exploring" so I explore. I love feeling so small next to such old pieces of art and history. I love learning new things about myself and the world around me, but my heart is calling out back to a place that is my own- where that place is--who knows, but here I go.