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Tough Meat

Kirundo, Birundi, Monday, August 3 I was sick yesterday: stomach cramps at regular intervals, a mild fever, a headache and general aches and pains all over my body. The cause was the day before, I think. It was Saturday, so we did a bit of sightseeing. We visited a project Stephanie put together in which…

Feeling My Age

Kirundo, Burundi, July 31 I’m 47 years old, and the last time I was in sub-Saharan Africa I was about 26. I’ve realized here what a difference that makes. It’s not a physical difference. I’m keeping healthy (knock on wood) and I’m feeling energetic and strong. It’s more a mental difference. In my 20’s, traveling…

Fastidiousness

Kirundo, Burundi, July 30 We’ve organized our workshops into sets of four or five sessions per workshop. There are four main workshops, and the participants will rotate through all four by the end of the three-week process. In addition, we’re offering free choice workshops for an hour before lunch on smaller topics. Today was session…

Kalashnikovs and Continuing Education

Kirundo, Monday, July 27 I just shook hands with someone who was carrying a Kalashnikov. (To be honest, I don’t really know if it was a Kalashnikov, an AK-47, or some other long, lethal, brand name, but you get the idea!) Apparently, she’s our bodyguard for the night. White sweater, trousers, very chic long cornrows,…

Church in Burundi

Kirundo, Burundi, Sunday, July 26 Believe it or not, I actually went to church this morning. And, what’s more, it was my second time in church this year. The first time was back in May in Connecticut, but that was only because my daughter was playing in the church’s bell choir that morning. I wasn’t…

Racist or Rational?

I’ve been thinking about how fearful I was on the flights coming here. The first flight was KLM, which is an airline I’ve flown quite a few times and trust. The plane, however, was a 747, and looked old. The 747 is the plane I’m probably least trustful of because it’s the one that seems…

Rocca Priori, Italy, July 9, 2009

We were in Rome yesterday and the day before, but apparently so were representatives of the G8 nations and other dignitaries. Sights/sites closed or opened arbitrarily to accommodate their whistle-stop visits. At one point, for example, we wanted to cross the road in the middle of St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Just cross the…

Outside Vicchio, Italy, July 17, 2009

So here I am in what has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed. It’s an old farmhouse, probably dating in part from the 14th century, in the Tuscan countryside. It’s the whole cliché: ivy-covered walls, beamed ceilings, terracotta pots holding dried flowers or fruit trees. There’s a gorgeous view of the sunset…

Niederweiler, Germany, July 4, 2009

As we were driving down the German autobahn today, zipping along at 150 kilometers per hour, watching the scenery gradually change, all I could think about was how incredibly fortunate I am. I have my family, who were there in the car with me, plus one.  I will start a new job, a new challenge,…