one hundred eighty


August 2016


A friend once shamed me into swimming in a frigid Drakensburg dam, “You only regret the things you don’t do in life.” I am not a great swimmer. But those words have stuck with me: no matter how cold or rough, no matter how muddy, no matter how ill-fitting my swimsuit may be…I don’t ever regret it. Continue reading “Water”



1c39e3dec7943ea0642428f1c5f4c6b1“It shows poverty.” 

“It shows someone struggling, carving a cane for a living.”

“It shows the pain of old age.”

These were the responses some of my 9th-grade students shared when we looked at the image to the left, among other depictions of hands. Tasked to convey a social issue through a simple hand gesture, my students imagined possible messages these hand artworks might convey. I gave them a variety of images to consider and interpret on their own – a hand holding a dripping, wet brain: brain washing. A hand clutching at fabric: losing one’s grip. Fighting. Two fists thrusting forward, tightly clenched: surrender to the police; being imprisoned.  Continue reading “Awakening”

On the road

Continue reading “On the road”


Fifty-two weeks to the day, last year I was busy straddling the opposing tips of Africa. Festive Egyptian music emanated from the arrival terminal as I let the dusty Tarmac and my old world behind. Only a few hours into my new norm, I was escorted to a teacher’s house to attend a simple dinner where I met many of my new colleagues. Tonight, I found myself cycling back. Another dinner, another year, with some familiar faces but many fresh. Not a Cairo expert yet, I still found myself in a position to provide some perspective and advice.

Continue reading “Cycles”

The Call of Liquor

Cairo home

I spent my first day back in Cairo hibernating, immediately recalling how exhausting it can be to exit the front door sometimes. There is a Duty Free* close by, but one can only go within 48 hours of an overseas arrival. The call of adding to my limited liquor cabinet roused me out the door.

The bells of the donkey cart twang by rhythmically, followed by the intermittent smack of a wooden plank on the jack’s back. Along my way, I remember to glance down at my new long shorts: on a bike they appear shorter than expected and my thighs are exposed. Damn. Whatever, it’s too hot. Continue reading “The Call of Liquor”

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