N’Djamena, Chad, February 2011

CHAD The airport in Chad is trees. Much of the rest of the country is desert—but landing and leaving, there are trees. A few minute after landing, and getting off the bus that transports us from the plane to the airport, one smells jasmine—on of the most divine smells there is. One jasmine tree graces the door that is both entrance to and departure from the airport. The only way to describe my first, sensory and visceral impressions of Chad is: Heat. Weight. Breeze. Feels like Chad. I had no idea what to expect, and, like many people who I talk to, knew very little about Chad. There’s a lot of surprise. I expected a hot dry place. It was hot, and hotter each day (98 F when we arrived; 110F a week later).It’s dry, but the hotel room was humid.If the door to the balcony remains open for more …

Posted in Africa, Blog | Leave a comment

Departing Khartoum

The week flew by here, and I am already checked in and preparing to depart this ancient city. There is a magic here–in the light, the dust, the fluid movement of sand and robes and breezes–that is seldom talked about where I come from. There isn’t a whole lot to do here, if one expects the kind of busy-ness we are accustomed to in many parts of the west. But I never tired of watching the sun rise and set here, because the colors that day fades in and out of are not colors I see elsewhere–they are softer, more muted, more gentle. Today a friend, Sue, who worked with my husband 20 years ago in Uganda, took my colleague and I to the old souks–we visited the bead markets and the place where many old baskets and carvings are available under piles of more touristy-oriented knick knacks. Some of …

Posted in Africa, Blog | Leave a comment

Sudan Day 3 & 4

I am in Khartoum, Sudan now. This was a really long and not an easy trip. Too many long layovers—which must, I’ve decided,make a significant contribution to jet lag, as I normally don’t get jet lagged, and its been a tough adjustment. It might also be this land— Sudan feels, to me, like stepping into the arms of the ancient mother. I was here three years ago, in Khartoum and Darfur, and I was especially captivated by the sand in Darfur (which is here, also, but less visible due to development). The sand is the color of dawn and runs like silk through my hands. In these ancient places, it almost seems as if the sand has absorbed the memories of many millions of years of sunrises and sunsets, of stars in the sky, of footsteps and camel-steps and the advance and receding of older oceans. I have asked a …

Posted in Africa, Blog | 1 Comment