Category Archives : Africa


Congo and Growing Up

I dug up some old journals the other evening and found a notebook I carried with me on my first trip to Congo. Reading it, I realized how much I’ve forgotten. The chicken that flew into our guesthouse room one morning. The plastic jar of Smucker’s grape jelly with Arabic writing on it. And how […]

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A Funeral in Congo

Around this time of year, two years ago, my grandmother passed away. A friend lost his brother. January is often a bad month. Christmas is over and it’s too cold and you lose people and you go to the funeral and the sky is gray and you’re sick and you think how appropriate, you’re glad […]


Congo: A Story

I know. Congo. I haven’t said much yet. So different from last time, when I wouldn’t shut up about it. When I think of telling you about it, I can’t think of how to explain it, how to summarize it, how to put what I’m feeling and thinking into words and sentences. Or, maybe I’m […]


Congo Memories

The closer Congo gets, the more I want to go someplace else. I’ve been stuck in the house, for the most part, for a week now, and when I’m bored I just troll around travel websites, picking out vacation houses in Key West, looking at hotels in Tokyo, reading travel blogs about Morocco. I’ve got […]


Driving Through Rwanda

Tonight I watched Hotel Rwanda again while stuffing envelopes with support letters for the May Congo trip. On the letters are pictures—of Asha, of her baby Faida, of Bishop. Sometimes I feel such a weight, such a weight, like I came back from Congo a hundred pounds heavier. The knowledge of them and what they’ve […]


Five Months Since Congo

Congo comes back in flashes–like, I’m blow drying my hair Sunday morning and I’m thinking about that first night in a Rwanda border town, eating plates of whole fish, fried, with heaps of thick french fries. How dark it was in the little restaurant, just a few dim bulbs for the room, shadows everywhere. Like […]


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Fiston

Fiston’s shoes were always clean. In the two weeks we were there, the five of us—Evan, Robin, Luke, Fiston, and I—trounced through some of the muddiest places, walked over some of the dustiest roads. Our shoes became filthier and filthier, turned deeper orange as time passed. But Fiston’s shoes stayed immaculate, spotless. I watched his […]


Flux

I’m beginning to think I live in six-month cycles. That nearly everything that has been certain about the past six months is coming up for review. Maybe it’s just the new year. I said at the beginning that I felt 2009 was going to be a change year, and so far it has not disappointed. […]


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Home

Things I Missed While in Congo: * Jesse. Not a thing, but still something to miss beyond comprehension. * Grocery shopping. And food sealed in plastic. * Cooking my own food. Even though we had fabulous food while away, there is something therapuetic and irreplacable about preparing my own food. Last night, I made a […]