Thursday, August 13, 2015

Long Walk to Freedom

When I was living in South Africa I read.  A lot.  But for some reason I never read Long Walk to Freedom.  Anyway, I’ve been reading it this past month and I can’t put it down.  I bring it everywhere (and this is not an easy task because it’s a huge book which takes up a lot of space in my bag).  I’m not sure why I’m so interested in reading this story now.  I left South Africa over 3 years ago but I find myself thinking about South Africa’s history.  Living in such a divided world of black and white where the color of your skin defined your place in life.  Nelson Mandela tells stories about living in a world where you can’t move forward simply based on your race – it had nothing to do with your character or how hard you worked to achieve a goal.  It’s interesting because I felt this and experienced moments of discrimination living in South Africa but for some reason I’m finding that reading about the historical context is both inspiring and challenging.

Last week I went back to South Africa to help once again with an annual project in my Peace Corps community.  Bringing young girls from Johannesburg to visit the village where I lived.  I always feel so proud of the work that has continued in the community but I guess what I kept thinking about was that while South Africa has made so many strides in their walk towards freedom…there’s still a long way to go.  When I tell people that I was a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa there is always a bit of surprise on people’s faces.  But the reality is that there is still great need in the country.  But what I love to see when I go back is that the country is taking ownership in developing and supporting the areas and people that need assistance.  It’s not easy.  Nor is it perfect.  It will take time.  But I feel honored that I’ve had the opportunity to continue to see the changes that will take shape over the days and weeks and years ahead. 

I suppose you always have a little bit of your heart that stays in the places you call home.  With the families and friends you have met.  That’s how I feel about South Africa.  So continue your walk towards freedom my beloved South Africa. 

Here are just a few pictures from my visit.  Love to you all!

Monday, June 29, 2015


 So I’ve been thinking about my life and wondering.  You know how you just wonder sometimes.  Is this where I’m supposed to be?  Did I make the right decisions?  I was reading something in People (yes, this very highly intelligent reading material…) and they were asking about the sort of advice you might go back and give the younger version of yourself if you could.  I guess one of the things I wonder about is if I made enough mistakes…and not just small mistakes but big, ugly mistakes.  I know it seems crazy but I want to make sure that my life isn't too clean or easy.  I am already living a life that is way too good in comparison to most.  And it makes me crazy to think that I wouldn’t take a risk or fail in some way that made me a better person?  Maybe I’m feeling like this because I’m on the verge of making a big mistake (yes, it does seem strange to vocalize).   Maybe not.  Maybe I’m just feeling crazy because we are experiencing rolling blackouts here in Zambia.  It’s hard to say.  But I hope that I continue to make a few big mistakes in my lifetime.  And I hope you all do too. 

And all this from reading People.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wedding Things.

I had the honor of being in my first Zambian wedding this weekend.  My wonderful friend, Bonde, got married.  She looked amazing.  The venue was spectacular.  The entertainment was on point.  Everything was perfect.  In Zambia, the bridesmaids and groomsmen all perform a dance at the reception (we actually learned a few dances). It is quite a commitment (I later figured out) to be on the lineup for a wedding here in Zambia.  You start practicing months in advance and then you better not mess up on the actual day.  I can’t say that my dancing was spectacular but I managed.  A couple of the people on the lineup made up for those of us that, well, aren't very good dancers.  I’m not sure I really want to see the video of the performance.  In my mind, I will just pretend I was an amazing professional back-up dancer. :)

Aside from the dancing, the entire day was crazy.  From waking up with bendy rollers in our hair to getting our make-up done to getting dressed for church and then back for pictures and lunch then changing to our evening accessories then heading to the venue and dancing…it all happened so fast?!  I remember thinking when I got home that I couldn't believe the day was over.

Thank goodness that Bonde and Andreas have an entire lifetime ahead of them…because, man, does a wedding day go by fast.  Unfortunately, I didn't get too many pictures.  Once we get some of the professional pictures then I’ll post a few more but for now enjoy!  

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Over the past year I haven’t done a very good job of posting on here.  When I was in Peace Corps I had so much time…now I’m back in the world of work.  But I look back on the things that I wrote here and I love having this sort of documentation of my life.  What I was thinking.  What I was doing.  So, even if it’s just a random post (like this one will be) I’ll try to keep making an effort.  So, today, some thoughts.    
  • My family extends beyond the boundaries of one country.  Even one continent.
  • I’m am lucky to have a job.  I get to do amazing work every day.  
  • I love to drink wine with good friends.  Responsibly of course.
  • Raising a dog and letting them sleep in my bed (against my better judgment) is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
  • I want to one day write a book for my family full of good advice like I heard this weekend. 
  • Lying in bed the entire day is still one of the most amazing ways to spend a day.  Ever.    
  • I really should stop eating crackers and calling it a “meal.”
  • I am terrible at reversing.  Terrible.
  • I wish I could stay at a club all night and just dance without anyone judging me for staying at a club all night and dancing.
  • I love Africa.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lower Zambezi, Love and Fishing.

Over this past weekend of love (Happy Valentine's Day everyone!), we decided to go fishing.   The Lower Zambezi National Park is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River in the southeastern part of Zambia opposite Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park.  It was magnificent.  I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been here before…it’s only about 3 hours away from Lusaka and it’s magical.  We really didn’t go much except sit in a boat and pretend to fish (nope, I didn’t catch any fish) but we did see hippos and elephants while looking at some of the most amazing scenery.  Now this is why you should all visit me here in Zambia.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

European cities and Ghanaian weddings.

Although the travel itinerary doesn’t really make sense, this year for the holidays I traveled to London, Barcelona and then back to West Africa.   While it was a whirlwind trip, I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing opportunity to spend some time exploring the new places in the world. 

I was able to travel with my friend from the states (who previously lived here in Zambia).  We spent quite a bit of time figuring out how we were going to coordinate travel and meet up at the same places/times since we had to essentially book our flights separately to travel to three different countries in 12 days.  This meant that we traveled together yet we never really traveled together.  We just kept leaving the same cities and meeting up in new ones. 

We originally met in London on New Year’s Eve.  I must admit that I was not prepared for the weather in London.  It was cold.  It doesn’t get that cold here in Zambia so I didn't come very prepared.  We did brave the weather though and rang in the New Year on the streets of London (okay, we were actually in a warm bar)!  Interestingly it didn’t look like anyone else was that cold?  Anyway, we only had a day in London so we spent New Year’s Day at the Tate Modern art museum and then walked along the Thames before hunkering down in a very warm and cozy restaurant.  The next day we left for what we thought would be warmer weather in Spain.  It wasn’t really.  Okay, it was warmer compared to London but we decided we just aren’t cut out for cold climate vacations.  That said, I loved Barcelona.  The city was beautiful (despite the cold) and I could have stayed there much longer (in the summer).  It’s got this great energy.  I loved the architecture, the restaurants, people, beaches.  Everything.    

After only a few short days we traveled back to my beloved Africa.  Our friend was getting married in Accra, Ghana, so we were able to attend the wedding as well as visit some of the sites around town.  Can you guess what our first stop was??   Yes, the beach!  I can’t tell you how happy we were to see sand and lay around on a beach…a proper vacation.  But we did manage to tear ourselves away from the beach to visit a city called Kumasi, the capital city of the Ashanti region which is an important historical center in Ghana.  So we got some culture too, don’t worry.  Our friend also had a traditional wedding ceremony where she wore a beautiful hand-woven kente cloth gown and looked amazing!  And the next day she had a church wedding where we danced to the electric slide at the reception!  And there’s this amazing video of a fight which broke out between two women when the bride tossed her flowers to the lovely awaiting single ladies.  Ahh, weddings.      
I had such an amazing holiday – I tried to capture with a few pictures so I hope you enjoy.  And…Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Zambia Celebrates...and Mourns.

In the course of a week here in Zambia we had a huge celebration…and a major loss.  Zambia first celebrated 50 years of Independence during which everyone came together to show their love and pride in their country.  I was quite impressed and was happy to be here during this "Golden Jubilee" celebration.  But, then, just a few days later the country lost their leader, President Michael Sata .  It’s been an interesting couple of weeks as the country has gone into national mourning.  Tomorrow will be a national holiday as the late President is buried and a mass is held in his honor.  But, again, the country has come together to honor the President in a peaceful way which is a strong testament to the character of the Zambian people.  

President Michael Sata.

Zambia celebrates 50 years of Independence.

Zambia mourns the loss of the President (ladies in black).