Tag Archives: Uganda

Africa Archive 2014

You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place

Over the past few weeks I’ve been slowly posting in segments pieces about my latest expedition to Ghana, West Africa. From start to finish, to the origins that led to the journey, to the many lessons I learned and re-learned throughout, here is the complete archive in one blog post:

1. – Affirmation

2. – Nairobi 

3. – Maps 

4. – My Lover (Pt. I)

5. – The Despair of the Privileged 

6. – Reckless Abandon 

7. – Pen & Paper 

8. – Lake Bosomtwe 

9. – The Grand Portrait 

10. – Tourists and Travelers 

11. – My Lover (Pt. II)

12. – The Inevitable Sadness 

13. – The Burden of Self 

14. – Stable Instability

15. – The Front Lines

Tourists and Travelers

I happened to glance down at the book on the shelf underneath the coffee table. The pages were weathered, its front cover a portrait of a giant desert sand dune. I opened the first page of Paul Bowles’ novel The Sheltering Sky and was riveted by the first paragraph. Suddenly I couldn’t hear the bustling outside the open office door. The rickety cars passing by on the barely paved street became silent and I didn’t notice the dust and immense heat floating into the office. It takes a true work of carefully crafted art to absorb my entire being like that and I somehow knew the second I found the treasure that it would be one of those life-changing books.

I had only a few days left in Ghana when I started the book but the Ghanaian Light for Children director Mike told me I could keep it. The story took place just after WWII in the deserts of North Africa where three American travelers found themselves in a symbolic land of pure psychological terror. As I fervently read each page, it was just me and the author, Mr. Bowles, along with the fascinating characters of his imagination. There’s something special about starting a book about Africa while you’re in Africa. In fact, it had happened to me each time I visited the continent, and always toward the end of my stay. I had no part in the matter, the books seemed to fall in my lap. I remember the first one clearly, while in Kenya in 2006 I came across A Distant Grief by Kefa Sempangi, a Ugandan who had survived under the reign of Idi Amin. The true story was incredibly moving, the words and the account leaving a mark on my life forever. The second time in 2007 was The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden, another story that took place in Uganda under Idi Amin but this one was fiction. Foden’s perspective helped shape my own. In 2012 I came across The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. It was in my journalism prime and the book opened my eyes in ways I had never known. All of these books somehow met me exactly where I was, both physically in Africa and mentally in whatever place in life I happened to be at. I should have expected a book to show up in Ghana, but each of these instances had been unexpected.  Continue reading “Tourists and Travelers” »

My Lover (Pt. I)

January 2014

How blessed am I that I get to see my lover every day? To feel and taste and embrace her, to gaze upon her as if it’s the first time I’ve ever seen her, to be captivated by her as if she’s still to this day the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on.

I had spent New Year’s Eve in New York City and had just gotten back to my apartment in Ocean City. I woke up early on the second day of 2014 and spent the morning with the mist shrouded ocean. Forever the water moved; not for one moment since creation had it been still. Standing there as I stood countless times, I thanked my lover for making me feel humble, inspired, tiny and salty all at once. No matter what, I always wanted to be around her or close to her. Continue reading “My Lover (Pt. I)” »