Thursday, July 20, 2006

From Roth to McEwan

More for the summer reading list....

One sitting and wrap yourself up in that almost perfectly pitched prose. Read it on the bus from Langano to Addis; all save last three pages. Damn. Had to be called out on that by Erin who wants me to personally ask redemption from LA book critic who suggested the read all in one place job! matter how ya read it, just do. Then go and listen to your Goldberg move!

mountains as high as plane windows

Goodbyes and breakfast of porridge; onto a plane and onto a runway.

Hours later, the pilots voice. Look to the left. To the left is the biggest damn mountain I have ever seen. Am I out of my mind?!

Bit of a tremble, than compose myself.

Land and fall in love with the landscape; different, so different than Ethiopia. So much less poverty; I gawk at the stores that seem as if they've seen westerners more than once. My heart races at the wide, wide fields of burnt corn and sunflowers.

I arrive in Moshi. Settle in. Get this great DSL line and write. I leave tomorrow at 8 a.m. with lots of warm clothes; feeling great at this point. So ready for this and excited. I am here in the middle of Africa alone and it feels so fucking great!

a sky so black

An hour on the sand, staring up at the blackest sky. The most star-filled sky I've ever een under, it seems; think of navigators and people on ships. Lack of light from any source other than those far pinpricks and I'm stretched out on the sandy beach of Lake Langano. Not alone, but flanked to left and right by quiet thoughtful lovelies who break the silence every now and then with a sonorous voice. A comment about the universe, Bill Bryson, the ozone being as thick as two layers of paint. Back at my room, I can't bear to go inside and instead stand alone on the edge of the small porch - my handwashed socks and underwear strewn over the railing. My breath thick in the wet air.

These three days, post-work. This small section of this vast country. Wandogent. Awassa. Langano. They mean something to me now and Ethiopia as a concept has disintegrated into a thousand bits. Roads and huts and people. Mountains. Lakes. Each with their own distinctive smells, people, attitudes. A month ago AFRICA seemed a single monolithic place. It all breaks apart - kind of like artistic style, from the precise and pseudo-real to the abstract all too real shadow filled life of it.

So I stand on my balcony and wait. And listen for a click.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Apologies to anyone who has looked on this lately expecting a post. Due to lack of any kind of internet infrastructure in the Shashemene area, I've been keeping a journal and will publish it on my blog once I am back in the land of DSL.

Right this moment, I am sitting in Awassa - the clouds are heavy and grey overhead. Trees are blowing around in the wind, looks as though a rainstorm is brewing. But weather here is momentary. It comes and goes in a matter of moments, clouds give ways to blue expanses of sun and puffy clouds.

Today was the last day of my Habitat work proper - we've been, for two weeks, building homes (well mostly carting dirt and rocks - I have personally carried over a TON) in the same area of the Shashemene, Ethiopia. We have gotten to know the people, gotten to know the land. So much to tell. Mostly, I want to say that this experience is a great one. I have been happy here, uncomfortable here, triumphant here - felt so many things. A bit homesick sometimes, not for home per se - for familiarity.

I send you all love and promise to write more soon.