My Wandering Mind

Wandering mind.

Those of you that personnally know me, are aware that my mind can link a number of topics in almost rapid sucession.

Sometimes useful, sometimes not.

Today, being Friday and in Khartoum, it is not a work day, according to Sharia Law.

Time must be spent in prayer and I believe, with family.

Are you old enough to remember the "Blue Laws" in Pennsylvania?

Blue laws" were state laws which prohibited non-essential or certain forms of commerce on Sundays, in order to create an uniform day of rest for the community. They had their origins in the colonial period, and were named for the color of the paper on which they were originally printed.

In 1959, Pennsylvania passed just such a blue law, requiring shops and other businesses to remain closed on Sundays.

Since I do remember living in Pennsylvania when blue laws were in effect, a little history about the case is relevant, as I do not work today, Friday, due to residing in a predomanently Muslim city.

The Case

The appellant, Abraham Braunfeld, owned and operated a clothing and home furnishing store in Philadelphia.

He was also an Orthodox Jew; his religion required him to observe the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, by engaging in no work and closing his shop. Because of the revenue lost on Friday evening and all day Saturday, Braunfeld relied on being open on Sundays.

Braunfeld asserted that if he was required to also close his shop on Sundays, in accordance with the Pennsylvania blue law, he would necessarily suffer economic hardship, and would not be able to continue in his business.

The appellant asserted that this interfered with his First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.

The case was dismissed at the state level and appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The appellant in this case, as well as the appellants in Two Guys from Harrison-Allentown, Inc., v. McGinley argued that the Pennsylvania statute was an attempt to establish a religion, since the blue laws emerged from the Christian practice of refraining from work on Sunday

In 1961, the Supreme Court upheld that "Blue Laws", which force the closing of stores on Sundays, did not interfere with the free exercise of religion.

The Chief Lawyer for the Appellee, Philadelphia Police Department, was David Berger. The Justices for the Court were Hugo Lafayette Black, Tom C. Clark, Felix Frankfurter, John Marshall Harlan II, Charles Evans Whittaker, Earl Warren (writing for the Court). The Justices Dissenting were William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Potter Stewart Place Washington, D.C. The decision upheld Pennsylvania's blue laws, deciding that they did not violate individual freedom of religion.

The significance was that The Court had to consider whether a law which establishes a valid secular goal, but which results in indirect burdens for people of a particular religion, violates First Amendment rights to the freedom of religion.

The Court decided that laws which do not prohibit the practice of a religion, even if they present related difficulties, cannot be considered unconstitutional.

So here I sit, in the outer courtyard watching everyone make their way to the mosque, with or without a prayer mat.

And lots of others sit too. It is not likely to be repealed, as the Blue Laws were.

Enough history.


Then I thought, if this is meant as time for God and family, is it not possible to show devotion without the law?

Growing up in NY state, we did not have blue laws. I remember Sunday as the day we went to church, sang in the choir, hung out at church, stopped at the bakery for crumb buns, went home, played, completed homework, etc. No laws.

I had lots of Jewish friends who went to synague on Saturdays.

But, to tell you the truth, I cannot remember if any store was open, other than the corner grocery store, the delicatessan or the bakery.

I do remember not shopping. I never gave much thought to commerce.

So, since it was Friday and I had time on my hands, I thought that I would do something very "pious".


Webster's defines piety as Having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity.

Since I could not venture into a mosque, I would show my reverence for God by sitting in the sun for about and hour and a half, the time it takes to walk to and from the mosque and to pray.

While sitting, I would pray and meditate.

What I realized, after about twenty minutes, was that I could not imagine walking around in this heat completely covered.

Who was I to complain, when these women were walking about, suffering heat stroke, as homage to God?

I was in the shade with a cold water bottle by my side.

But then, a disruption.

Blessed are the poor

A woman had come up behind me, outside the fench, askng for food. I have seen this woman alot.

So I am ashamed to say, that at first I ignored her.

She did not budge.

I gave her my water bottle. I am so wonderful.

Then, she threw the top on the ground, and I actually thought:

You just littered.

As she walked away and finished drinking, she threw the bottle to the ground.

What was she thinking?

What was she thinkg, what was I thinking?

I was using my recyling brain in a society where recyling is not an issue. Starvation is.

Sami, next door, laughs about my food and cooking restrictions.

No salt, no sugar, no meat, no poulty, no frying, no soda.

He said, people in Sudan eat what is available.

I am such a foreigner.

I have the luxury of deciding what I eat, what I drink, even here.

My brain is not wandering right now.

It is stuck on the fact that I have so much to learn and so much to be thankful for.

God is and has been very good to me.

Peace, Shalom, Salome

The Waiting Game

I must be channeling Forest Whitacker. I thought that he had starred in the movie, The Waiting Game.

So, I Googled him on Wikipedia and voila.

He starred in The Crying Game and directed Waiting to Exhale.

Doesn't matter.

Yesterday and today, I am starring in The Waiting Game.

I am the star, the producer but, not the director.

There are lots of directors, and I am kept waiting to say my lines.

Yesterday, I relearned the lesson of Sudan.

If you have an appointment for 10 AM, it really means 1 PM.

The water pump on/off switch was not working properly. So a phone call to landlord.

Landlord as Director #1.

The landlord is a policeman, whose wife owns the property, but here you never speak to the wife for business.

He had made an appointment with an electrician to meet him at 10 AM. The landlord arrived, speaking only Arabic and conversed with Sami.

No electrician. New appointment 1 PM. I asked to make sure that did not mean 3 PM.

I had to stay and monitor putting Rascal in the house, since she is very "nervous" acting and keeps running at people barking and snarling.

So no work. Just waiting.

Finally, the electrician arrives.

Director #2, He has me running to turn faucets on and off once he gets the pump running., After about an hour, the problem is fixed.

Two hours later, the pump dies.

Luckily, I now have extra water stored so that I can run the AC. Who cares about cooking.

Today, I wait for Sami to wake up. I need to get his electrician friend to look at the pump.

Director #3.

He hates the dog, so Rascal has eaten more cookies thrown into the house as bait, than he would normally get in a week.

Pump needs to be replaced. No problem, right.

Today is Friday.

All businesses must be closed by 12:30 PM or they face a fine if they are open during mid-day prayers.

Director #4.

Tito's grandmother died on Tuesday. He wants me to come to the prayer service being held at 3PM. But, I have no idea how to get there.

So, I am waiting for Rahela to call to see if she is going. That way we could meet up and travel together.

Another wait.

I feel like a teenager without a license to drive. I now remember what it was like having to wait on someone else for a ride or directions etc.


Waiting I can handle. Being a teenager?


Comcast in Sudan

Good Morning Everyone

I am unable to access email through my comcast.net website. It says that it is under construction.



Dateline Khartoum - May 28, 2008

I just had to check my mobile phone to know what the date is.

It is a very wierd feeling to be working and in a pattern of life, but to be unaware of the date.

A couple of new experiences since Monday.

I traveled to North Khartoum, which is really quite lovely and older, with Villas as homes and wide streets with trees. So different from the section of town that I live in. I had dinner with the Watson's who were gracious to invite me.

They are in the process of clearing out the freezer. Liz and the boys are leaving for a two month holiday in Kenya. Rob will follow in a month. He first travels to Darfur and then to Juba.

Beautiful home with gardens and grass and a tree house. We ate dinner on the veranda shaded by the trees.

Heading to their home, I saw the White Nile for the first time, as well as the agriculture fields along the banks that will be flooded in a little while.

On the way home, I crossed over the Blue Nile and saw a brief glimpse of the convergance of the two. Really beautfiul.

Of course, what trip home would not be complete without a flat tire on one of the bridges. So, as Rob changed the tire, I directed traffic 20 feet back.

Holding up a white bag, I was asking drivers to alternate merging into one lane. These crazy people actually paid attention to me.

Me, a White American Woman in PANTS, with no head covering telling them what to do. They kept yelling, Good Evening, Good Job, Hello, Salom, etc.

Needless to say, I had a better time than Rob.

On Friday, Tito plans to take me site seeing. I will see the Mahdji's Tomb, Gordon's Palace and anything else I want.

At four, I am to join Rob for a party on an island in the Nile. Each Friday, which is a non-working day in Khartoum, people congregate on this island to picnic, etc. Then they swim in the Nile.

No big deal, right ?

Well, they swim in their clothes. No bathing suits allowed in northern Sudan.

I have found the beach I want to go to. Clothes not bathing suits.

So, I will wade in, then dry off (probably in 30 seconds) and then wade in again.

I will be taking lots of pictures and posting them soon.

And I have learned a new phrase, which I use everyday.

Mahay Ish Wah Mahay Moyya. Spelling ,of course, is phonetic.

One Bread and One Water.

The bread is for the do and the water for me.

I have been saying, when going to work in the rickshaw, Mahey wah lizzeeze.

Loosely translated it means One and Delicious, the famous restaurant here in this part of town.

It also means that you can go to the supermarket of your choice and order a bag of bread and a bottle of water in Arabic.

Mange, Mange.



I have actually sat in the Ozone, without leaving the planet.

These pictures are from a very popular restaurant, within a traffic circle, which makes it either easier to get a lift or to be nearly run over.
I have had both experiences.

The traffic circle was formerly known as the Coca-Cola circle, due in large, very large, part to the very large Coca-Cola can.

I learned yesterday, from tne South African Manager, Matthew, that the corporation which has the Coca-Cola franchise for Sudan, owns/rents the circle that now houses the restaurant.

Yesterday, I began my morning there with a banana waffle and coffee.

I ended my day there, after church, with a cold drink.

Met lots of people there that are long-time friends of the Watsons. All of them are in the teaching/evangelising of Jesus profession.


Ozone is a heavenly place that provides a person with the coolest outside establishment in Khartoum. Lots of spraying mist that cools the body down.
Last night, I learned that certain parts of Khartoum did experience heavy downpours of rain the prior evening and even loss of electricity in Khartoum North. (Speaking of loss of electricity, mine just went out at 8:15 AM.)

There are hundreds of ex-pats that come to eat, chat, read, write, etc. Though, I have never seen a laptop.

And the languages are from all over the globe.



Memorial Day in Khartoum

I have never been outside of the United States for a Memorial Day Weekend.

Truth be told, I had to ask my daughter if this was Memorial Day Weekend.

There are, of course, no reminders about this important weekend in America.

I have successfully adapted to Khartoum time.

Or, unsuccessfully.

The BBC covered the story using the background of the white crosses at Arlington National Cemetery.

Comcast News showed a picture of an honor guard firing their salute, commenting about how busy these national cemeteries are at this time of the Iraq war.

There are no plans for a Memorial Day Parade by ex-pats here in Khartoum.

There will be no prayer services at any cemetery for those killed in harms way.

Instead, I worked Saturday and will work on Monday.

Today, Sunday, I will attend church at 6 PM.

Thankfully, there are no malls and no Memorial Day Weekend Sales. Events that have removed from American's conciousness the reason for the day off.

The reason for the remembering becomes much clearer if you are removed from America's distractions.

So, I ask a favor of you that are at home.

Take a few minutes today and tomorrow. Watch a prayer service in person or on TV.

Be silent for a few minutes and thank those that have given their lives and ask God to bless their families and friends.


Danny Schweers Faithful Friend

I have added a link to Danny's website.

Danny is a gifted writer, photographer, web-designer, volunteer, husband, and friend to many.

Please visit his site prepared to be positively affected and challenged.

The African Heart - Part One

This past week, I was sweetly told that I did not understand the problem because I was utilizing my Western Heart. To understand, I needed an African Heart.

A heart is a heart is a heart. Right?

Of course, I also thought that boys and girls were the same, until I had to raise both.

What we were speaking about and what I was failing to understand were the ways of war in sub-tropic Africa.

Whether I am tuning into the BBC, AlJezerra – English, MSNBC, every day there are reports of more fighting and dying, not limited of course to Africa. However, Africa is where I am living.

So, since I do not understand this “African Heart”, I will be researching this over the next few months. I know only that this is Part One. How many Parts? Don't know.

Where do I start and how do I research this?

Well Webster's has quite a bit to say about the definition of “heart”. Maybe they will have definitions that distinquish Western, from Africian, from Oriental, from Middle-Eastern, etc.

If so, Part One will be the beginning and the end of this series.

Webster's First Definiton

The hollow muscular organ located behind the sternum and between the lungs; its rhythmic contractions pump blood through the body.

Unless I am mistaken, this means that all “normal” hearts are the same. Located in the same place within the body and performing the same task.

End of story.

But it does remind me of another story.

I had attended Queens College in Charlotte, NC, my freshman year. Queens was an all girls school with 700 girls enrolled, 10 from above the Mason-Dixon Line. A drastic change from Westchester County in New York. The Village, Woodstock, NYC, a drinking age of 18. Girls had broken dress codes and were in jeans. Skirts started to move north.

John, Martin and Bobby were all gone.

Why Charlotte? My parents were moving to Florida and I/they could not afford the out-of-state tuition cost at the state colleges. So, in April, we were looking for schools in the South.

Charlotte was a dry county, meaning you had to leave the county to drink. Jeans? I had to purchase a whole new wardrobe, skirts and dresses to the knees or below.

In addition, I lost most of my NY accent pretty quickly.

My roommate, Becky, took me home one weekend to Statesboro, GA. , home then to Georgia Southern College, now University. Pretty campus, but further south.

After taking a year-off, I re-entered college as a sophmore at Georgia Southern. That would have been the fall of 1971, and the year that Bulloch County Georgia was ordered to desegregate its public school system.

At Southern, I encountered Campus Crusaders (for Christ), being “born again”, Black Baptist churches with music that made it a sin to sit, and another dry county. And, Duanne Allman, Allman Brother's fame, died. Their hit “Statesboro Blues” was playing everywhere.

My roommate made me wear a black arm patch in sympathy.

I was still majoring in Special Education. I had not yet discovered that every child was not meant to be the same, each was “perfect” as they were.

However, I took my first teacher's aid course and went into an elementary school classroom for a couple of weeks, or if more, I cannot remember.

To say that a Yankee (capitalized) was not welcome in that classroom during their court mandated desegration, would be an understatement. However, Southern hospitality is gracious and civilized.

The one event that stands out in my mind is this:

A little girl, African-American, has a stomach ache. She comes to me. I go to the teacher.

The teacher tells me that she is aware that she has a stomach ache, but she is not sure of what to do, since she is sure “their” insides are not the same as “ours.”

I have never forgotten the sincerity with which that statement was made.

Thankfully, I know that any differences between African and Western Hearts have nothing to do with their physical placement.


AMVETS and Vespas

For those of you reading this in the States, your mind has immediately registered the not-for-profit agency American Veterans or AMVETS.

Not here in Khartoum.

AMVETS is the name given to smaller, or mini, mini vans that are one of four means of, traversing the streets and cities of Khartoum, unless you have your own vehicle.

Vespas are a three-wheeled, open-sided mini taxi with a roof.

This being Friday, all of Khartoum's government offices are closed ,as is the ECS.

Having spent a rough half night without AC, due to a lack of running water, I was not going to stick around here after washing clothes.

Where to go?

Someplace with AC and coffee. Back to Momen, pronounced Momoon. Go Fig.

So, I got dressed, walked up to the intersection of 41 and Cemetery Road.

The first two Vespia taxi drivers looked lost when I showed the menu and address, even though the proprietor swore that everyone knew Momen.

Spoke with an African gentleman, as opposed to Arab, and asked where I should stand to catch a ride.

Across the street and do not pay more that 4 pounds.

Found an AMVET. He took me there. I paid 5. He left. I walked inside. They were closed.

Try to ascertain that fact from two security guards changing into their work clothes all the time saying, no speak English.

Back outside to find another ride.

Here the public buses actually call to you to ride their bus and you have to wave them away.

Compare that to Wimington, where they could care less if you get on before the door closes.

So I pick up another AMVET and return home. Ten pounds poorer, but more importantly, I had done this without the assistance of anyone else.

After I got through patting myself on the back, I saw my cell phone on the bed. Yep.

I had left it at home. Enough of patting myself on the back.

Either way, I was not spending the day inside this little compound.

So, onto Google to look to see whether there might be an Ex-pat restaurant guide for Khartoum.

There was.

I remembered the gentleman from the plane recommending OZONE. I thought this was an area in the city.

No, it serves Coffee, baked goods, sandwiches.

It sits in what they call the old Coca Cola Bottle Circle/Roundabout.

I remember passing by it a number of times and remember gardens and large trees.

So, off I go again.

This time, I hail a Vespa.

Within 5 minutes I am there.

Heaven outdoors.

Since they do not carry Iced Coffee, my waitor is astute enough to bring me a large cup of ice, a cup of coffee and a small amount of milk.

Ala, Easy Rider, I have Iced Coffee with an apple and banana muffin..

Cool water is spraying continually from the trees and up from the ground.

I read and people watch for about two hours.

Then, into the bakery for some small rolls and home.

By Vespa.

Still no water.

But, Rascal comes inside.

I blog.

And as you begin another day, I will take a nap.

Only to wait for water and cooler temperatures, of course.


News about China from Sudan

The Rev. Elyn MacInnis, an Episcopal priest missionary in China, has made her blog address available to the rest of us. Information about the earthquake and its aftermath can be seen here. The address is www.elynsjournal.com

On the blog ia a list of churches and pastors in the earthquake towns and what they want us to pray for. She will be adding further pictures.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Summer Reading

Believe it or not, I have actually had some time for reading during this summertime in Khartoum.

Also, I have not found a movie theatre in this city either. So, no drinking, no movies, no TV.


Here is what I have finished so far.

Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. Mystery. I give it 3 books.

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian who also wrote Midwives. I love his work and he did not let me down with this one. I give it 4 and 1/2 books.

The Mission Song by John leCarre suthor of so many, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and The Constant Gardener to name just two. LOVED IT, especially since I am currently in Africa. (A little teaser there) 4 and 1/2 book.

Simple Genius by David Baldacci. Very timely and I love the couple that are the stars of this and others of his books. CIA, Special OPS, FBI. All bumbling along. Makes my day. LONG BOOK. 4 books.

The NO. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. This is the first in her series of mystery stories interweaving life in Botswana. Great stuff if you want to get a feel for life in that country. Easy Read 3 books. But remember, if you get hooked on Precious, you will want to read more.

The Echoing Green The Untold story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and The Shot Heard Round The World by Joshua Prager. What you say? Well, I must admit that I am a baseball fan, a New Yorker and it did happen in 1951, the year I was born and Keith Olbermann did recommend it. But it is a fascinating read and I am learning so much and loving it. I take it in segments. There is only so much I can read at a time without adding a little fluff stuff. I will score it after I am done.

Next, I will tackle Ian Rankin's Resurrection Men. Why, because I found it in the house. and the house is my library

What are you reading and could recomment to others? Post a comment and I will publish it.



Changing Times

The passing of time

Time in a bottle

Time spent.......

Time to go

What time is it?

Have you got the time?

Time goes by so slowly

I am pondering the meaning of time.

Work time vs non-work time.

A better us of my time.

I am sitting and have been sitting, by myself, since 9:30 AM. It is now noon.

Tito has gone to run financial errands. Nicholas is not at work. Enoch is in Juba. Sapanna is getting exit visas.

Simon is preparing to leave the country tomorrow to return to his wife in the UK.

So after downloading better virus protection and uninstalling the old program, I am done.

I was supposed to use this time getting Nicholas on the internet, training another Education worker on Quickbooks, but none of this is done.

Sudanese Time.

What worries me is that at the end of four months I may have made the adjustment to accomplishing one or two small things in a day and then back to the states.

Culture shock in reverse.

How to speed up again will be my biggest concern.


Pictures of All Saints Cathedral Khartoum,Sudan

I have uploaded my pictures of the Khartoum Cathedral. This link might also allow access to the previously published pictures from the February trip to Kampala, Uganda and Juba, Sudan., So if you did not see my original trip, please enjoy.

This is the last job for today.

I did not make it to church. I ran out of courage.

Not to attend church, but how to get there.

My solution:
Tomorrow I will ride a rickshaw to the Cathedral with Tito following behind to make sure that I gave the proper directions and address.

That way, if I am wrong, he will come to the rescue.

This will make his life so much easier and I will have the courage to attend church next week.

Here is a picture of my hero.

It was taken at the "restaurant" on the cathedral grounds. Here are a couple of pictures of that as well. My other eating companion was a real "cluck".



Webster's Dictionary defines basic, when used as a noun, to be a necessary commodity for which demand is constant, or when used an an adjective of primary importance.

Over the past several years, I have been slowly going through closets, the basement, the shed and donating, throwing away, giving away “things” that were no longer working and/or not worth repairing, items that were used by the kids as they were growing up and no longer needed, dishware, clothing, etc.

Getting back to basics.

I have done this in anticipation of eventually moving out of this house into something smaller on one floor. Of course, that does not happen until I am tired of gardening, or floating in the pool, or all the cats leave in one fashion or another.

However, being here, it has me wondering if it really was in anticipation of living in Sudan.

Very basic stuff here. And I have simplited it as well, for my needs. I have moved one of the twin beds into the great toom.

Creating a smaller space.

Running the AC at night, it would take a much longer time to get the cooler air back to the bedroom. So, move the bedroom. And less to clean.

I rearragned the chairs, assigning some to the bed room, one to the front courtyard to watch soccer.

Then, when I want to play the piano, I move the bed a little.

Did I not mention the piano?

Works though slightly out of tune.

But the only music I can find are Christmas carols. So that is what the neighbors hear in Sudan with temperatures hovering around 120 degrees in the afternoon.


Yesterday, I rode in a car that told you the outside temperature. At 7 PM it said 40 Degrees Celsius. I have been happy not knowing how hot it has been. But, they translated it to around 100 at 7 PM.


Ignorance is bliss. I want to exist without this day to day knowledge.

Besides, no humidity really does make a difference. Apparently, I like 120 here better than 85 in humid Florida. (Sorry Ann)

Water is a basic need and to be without means disruption at the minimum and death at the maximum.

Water is that binary compond that occurs are room temperature as a clear colorless orderliss tasteless liguid, so says Webster..

Today, there is no water in my row of houses. I have bottled to drink but that means no washing clothes, as I intended, until they turn it back on.

I read that to dream of clear water foretells that you will joyfully realize properity and pleasure, but if the water is muddy, you will be in danger and gloom.

Yesterday evening, Lauren Stanley, a priest from the Diocese of Va., was telling us how in the Diocese of Renk, there is no running water ever.

They have tried to collect rain water when it fell, but unsuccessfully. During the dry season, they use the water from the Nile, which is called the muddy river. Not good at all.

"Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink" is "a quote taken from a famous English poet of the 19th century...Samuel Coleridge, almost two centuries ago.

Here are some sobering facts:

Freshwater is believed by many international agencies to have become the greatest singlethreat to the world’s stability, human health, global food supply, poverty, gender inequality, and even the specter of war.

It was speculated by the World Resources Institute that more than half of the world’s population will be suffering severe freshwater shortages within 25 years.

"The International Conference on Water" held in Singapore in 2001, concluded that billions of people throughout the world are facing the problem of freshwater shortage.

"The International Freshwater Conference" held in Bonn, Germany, in December 2001, stressed that one fifth of the world’s population do not have access to sufficient clean drinking water. This is because wastewater from 2.5 billion people cannot be disposed of hygienically, making polluted drinking water the number one cause of disease around the world, ultimately leading to poverty and gender inequality.

So what do the people of Sudan do with this problem?

They rely on the kindness of others.

Like us. Like Lauren.

Lauren was, in her earlier life, a water engineer with the Peace Corp.

So, she designed cisterns and voila. Purified Water.

She and Simon Lewis are now going to find the financial backing to build this type of cistern in a number of smaller towns in Southern Sudan.

Lauren leaves for the US at 1 PM Sudan time and Simon for the UK on Tuesday. Between the two of them and the backers they find, this will employ a number of individuals. They both return to Sudan at the beginning of August.

Lauren, who works with Father Joseph, a priest who is running for Bishop of Renk and the benefactor of dinner, envisions, apprentiships for pipe fitters, masons, bookkeepers, procurers.

Setting up craftmen/women all over Southern Sudan..

This is how you build a country. From the ground up.



Sudan Firsts

The past few days have included a number of firsts for me in Sudan.

Wednesday night I went to dinner with other ex-pats, they from the UK. We went to a restaurant that had real AC.

And, PIZZA, SALAD BAR. Heaven in Sudan.

Then right across the hall to a “Starbucks” Internet Cafe.

Great four hours, filled with conversations about politics, religion, mission work, families

Yesterday, I installed the financial software, Quickbooks, on the Finance Department Computer, then hooked Tito, the financial assistant, and my driver, etc. up to the Internet. Set him up with an email account with YAHOO. A BIG first for the Provincial Office.

Send him a line at tito.angelo@yahoo.com. K. sent him his first from PA,, USA.

On Saturday, we will start learning Quickbooks. He is very bright and catches on quickly.

Nicholas gets his email account on Saturday, kicking and screaming all the way. But, since he now has a 3 month old daughter, he needs to learn now. That might be another first.

Nicholas kept Tito at work until 7 PM last evening, which meant he kept me. Not again.

While waiting for them, I watched my first African wedding at the Cathedral. Great stuff.

And it drizzled, in Khartoum, before the wedding . Like a kid, I was standing outside arms set for flying, letting the drops land. So cool and refreshing.

That afternoon, another first. I watched an Episcopal priest, whip a mentally ill man, in the courtyard of the Cathedral, where family and friends were waiting for the bride and groom.

Too much for me to watch. Culture shock. A priest. Blessed are.....

This morning, another first.

I washed my sheets and some clothes by hand. Geez.

I did this at 6:30 AM so that the sun would not be up. The sheet was dry in less that ½ hour. The socks are still hanging there.

The AC man was back. Determined it was the “chair” that holds the rod for the blower. Another 50 pounds.

I was going to clean the front courtyard, but that would require a shower and the water station has been turning the water off and on all day. I am not going to chance that.

So, another first. I will pay my bills from Khartoum and see just how well this works out.

Keep praying for Sudan.

And I learned a new phrase for when "things" happen. Like the AC, or no water, or a wedding to start at 4 PM, whcih starts at 6 PM.

Welcome to Sudan.



It's a pretty breezing day here in Kampala. Trees are bending in the wind.

Of course, that means that there are millions of tiny dust particles moving along as well.

But, it feels good.

In reading up on last week's attack, I learned that in all the decades of war in this country, Khartoum was never attacked.

That is why the people here in Khartoum are so disturbed.

During the times of conflict, all of it took place south and west. Khartoum's citizens went about their daily lives not affected at all.

Imagine how easy it would be then to forget that there are people loosing their lives each day, and you are going to the grocery store, school, dances, church.


Imagine then how easy it would be to conduct a war apart from your soil.

Imagine that you were indifferent about it ending.

Displaced people that you never saw.

Starvation that you never witnessed.

Can you imagine?

Isn't it real now?

Isn't it?

Lesson's of the Day

Dateline Khartoum – Tuesday May 13, 2008

This was a really weird day.

I learned that my neighbor/cook's name is not Marta but Gratziela. This is not a life's lesson, merely an editorial correction.

However, I learned that she has no running water next door. Wether that is by choice, since they have a sattelite dish, or that of the two, the dish is cheaper, I do not know.

I determined that I did not care, and filled her huge vats with water.

My mind drifts to a wedding in Caanan and turning it into wine. That would have been really nice.

I woke with some anxiety, but could not determine the cause. In this weather, it makes no difference if you are anxious or not, you must eat. The heat will sap your strength if you do not.

A new AC man arrived, a friend of my neighbor's that used to live in this neighborhood. Rascal, it appears, has several personalities.

One is nice puppy.

The other is Atila the Hun.

He charged this man, thnkfully, before he came through the gate. Rascal was confined to indoors.
He adjusted the belt and voila, I know have air. (Though this AM, it is back to squealing.)

Several friends suggested options of coping without AC, specifiallly sleeping without AC: large floor fans, lots of ceiling fans, water spritzing and rum and cola. I thank you for caring for me.

Ok, here is the thing. The house is already wired, and contains one plug for each room. Therefore, plug already used for one fan. Additional not opptional. I like the idea of open doors, but I hate flys landing all over me when I am trying to work or sleep.

An oscillating fan would be nice, as well as a floor fan, but Target or Kmart are not just around the corner.

Water sprtizing would be great, but it would dry in mid air.

Rum and coke. Ah, not my drink, but not anyones drink in Khartourm. The is sharia law and no alcohol is anywhere.

Now that the AC was fixed, I could go into work.

Nope. They had decided that it was still a little iffy, not really, and tomorrow/today would be fine.

The garbagemen finally showed up.

Here, all trash is taken to a certain place in front of each house. So, all the trash that Joanna did not have picked up, plus mine, had to be hauled outside. Yuck.

And, of course, Rascal charged and growled and barked at them as well.

That done, I hosed down the front courtyard. I wanted to watch the soccer game sitting down rather than stare over the fence like Elroy.

Brought a chair to the front, but in doing so started to slip on the nud and I felt my hamstring snap. Ouch. Spent some time trying to stretch it out weating a long skirt. Not an easily accomplished task mnd you.

Game time: Sit in the shade watching the game. My grandfather would have been drinking Knickerbocker beer and watching the game. Water tastes better.

Anna, little girl down the street, came by. I put Rascal in the other courtyard and she came inside. What a delight, but no substitution for Kathryn. But, so much like Kathryn.

Playing dressup in my sun visor and sunglasses. Sassaying around. Showing Sami next door.

Rubbing my arm trying to see if the white comes off.

Drinks water. Then drinks and spits and laughs. Sits in my lap, whispers in my ear, in arabic of course.

Climbs the fence, yells at the team.

Then nightmare.

Rascal gets out, charges me and Anna. Lots of screaming and me holding Anna high in the air. Trying to get Rascal to stop, holding Anna higher. She is lifted over the fence by two tall young men. Rascal calms down as I yell. Into the other courtyard.

Through one of the young men, wearing a Yankee baseball cap, I learn that she is not bitten, but that she was frightened and her heart is beating very fast. Likewise.

She goes home. Comments made between the three of us about Rascal's agressiveness.

I go back inside and cry.

This neighborhood is my world now. How to deal with this? What are they thinking as they watched this? What about Anna's parents?

After several phone calls to Joanna's friends here in Khartoum, I learn that Rascal was a wild puppy when Joanna rescued him. Something about pack living is still ingrained in him. The weak are to be attacked. Hold your turf.

I call Sami. He meets me at the front, I tell him the story, and ask if I should go see the parents.
Yes. We will go right away. First, get jacket to cover shoulders.

Sami, in his role as translator, tells them why I am there. They invite us in. We sit, father brings two waters and two little candies. Anna arrives, smiling. While Sami is telling the story, very animatedly, Anna gets a little brown stool for my water.

Everything ends well. They invite me back for longer conversations about why I am here, etc.

This ought to be very interesting.

I am going to have to pay Sami to interpret. Or the conversation is going to take a very long time.

Two months maybe.


Starry, Starry Night - Part Two

Well, I may have romanticized sleeping under the stars a bit.

In fact, sitting, or standing, or reading, or emailing, or lying under the stars would be more appropriate.

At 4:15 AM I moved in doors.

That is the time the Iman's start their first call to prayer. Of course, I did not know this. I am usually asleep.

That was the last straw.

At the beginning, an African Drum Group played until 11 PM.

During the night, I heard each plane landing and lifting off.

And Rascal, who felt the need to protect me from every sound he heard, barked loudly.
Then of course, running to the bed for a pat on the head reward.

And the nighttime feral cats, who move from roof top to roof top, aided by Rascal barking and leaping off the walls. One time, running onto the bed and over my stomach.

And the stars. I did not want to take my glasses off in case a shooting star went by.

In case you are wondering, the Imans are still praying. It has been ½ hour.

So today, my Birthday, I will most likely resemble that Cranky Old Lady on the Hallmark cards.
If it were Christmas, I would be Bah Humbuging.

Tonight, indoors, even if it is the Hilton.


Starry, Starry Night

Star Light, Star Bright, Grant the wish I wish tonight.

Dancing with the Stars.

Starlight Express.


Under the stars.

That is where I am sleeping. Under the stars.

I have decided that since the AC is not working, and it is cooler outside, this is where I shall sleep.

Around 8PM I pulled the bed outside to the courtyard.

Sprayed the bricks with water to cool everything down.

Set up the laptop.

Took a shower. Got ready to blog.

No web access to Google, Comcast, BBC, nothing for the past hour.

So, I am reclining on the bed looking up into the black sky. The moon is at half and growing each night. The stars are beautiful.

I have not done this since camping as a Girl Scout, a long, long, time ago.

It is hard to see the sky at night in Delaware. Here it is easy.

Too bad that I do not know the names of the constellations that I am seeing. I could see the Big and Little Dippers in every constellation if I tried hard enough.

So, if I am looking at the stars, how is this being typed?

Well, I just received a phone call from L. Stanley. She is, hopefully, arriving in Khartoum this Friday, from Renk, on her way to Virginia this Sunday. I hope to meet her prior to her leaving.

So I tried the internet again. No luck. Rather than wait. I type in word and will transmit when I can get back on line.

Now, back to the stars.

My Love Affair with the BBC

I have come to really appreciate the role of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).

When the only access to what is going on around you is the internet, then this website is invaluable.

Today, they have more historical and current information about Sudan than I have seen elsewhere.

And, it is without a US perspective.

Here is the link.


It is fascinating stuff.




Surprises keep coming.

No church at all today

While there may be services, the 6PM English service I cannot attend.

I have asked Robin about going and he recommends that I stay put, due to the fact that the service would let out in the dark and the roads are to be kept clear.

I learn a little more of what happened yesterday from Robin. The city north of Khartoum had it's electric tower hit so they have lost electricity and water.

Two of the ECS workers live there. One made it home and witnessed the fighting right outside his compound. The other, with his family, is waiting to see if they would be opening the bridge to traffic. If so, they were heading home. If not, staying the night with Robin.

I have discovered that keeping the main roads clear is like saying keep I95 clear. Everyone takes to the back roads. It is the same here.

The back roads in this case go through the soccer field in the front of the house. Lots of traffic.

So what to do with my energy.

I take to cleaning out the front patio area. The bush branches snap and therefore do not need clippers. When I am done, I can see the front door from the street.

Next the garbage is taken away from all the bushes and put in front so that people remember it is there. I cannot figure out what people do with all this trash.

I sweep up old leaves and lots of sand/dirt. Out the front.

Then water which I used to water the new tree in front of the house. More to water down the leaves and dirt I have swept into the street. More to clean the broom, more for my hot feet, hands.

I am definitely sweaty. What I cannot figure out is why I am not sunburned.

This puzzles me.

Today, I speak with Marta and determine that I am older than her by 4 months. This she cannot believe. She thought I was in my forties. Ah. She swears I am not telling the truth.

Her son Sami has never married because he has no house, no steady job, a mother to support, etc. Sad.

After showering, checking the BBC and email, I don the skirt, shirt and walk to the corner market, two doors down.

I only have a 50lb note.

They give me credit I owe them 6 lbs.

I am part of the neighborhood and it has only been 6 days.

Dateline Khartoum May 10, 2008

Here's my dilema.

Do I write about yesterday, my experience, knowing that this will automatically be sent to my sister and daughter?

Or do I not and write about a sleepless night without AC?

Or both?

Yesterday, Saturday, is a work day in Khartoum. They have no weekends if you are Christian. You have off Friday and Sunday.

Tito and I worked a very long and productive day. Nicholas was still out recovering from a bout of Malaria.

At 2:30 PM, we left work. (No editorial comments here. You try working 8 hours in this heat with no AC.)

Since the car was again being worked on, we walked one street over to a supermarket. Tito wanted to show me how close it was to work. And, they exchanged dollars.

I found out that the closest postoffice for stamps to US is at the airport.

Then we took my first Rickshaw ride. So much fun. Rounding corners a little to fast. Missing turns and turning around mid-stream in traffic. Like the Keystone cops.

Car was not ready. So we headed to my house. I actually recognized the correct intersection from the opposite direction. (See K, all my nosiness pays off.)

Housekeeper was here, as well as cook, they made me eat. Food is very good but heavy so I am eating a little at a time. It frustrates them.

They leave, I walk to the little store at the corner for bread for Rascal and water for me.

I get an invitation from the owner to sit and have dinner with him.

I just cannot get my head around eatting dinner on someone's bed while he wears a long white caftan/robe. Besides, I have no idea what he is eatting. So I thank him, but no, I am just back from work and need to rest a little.

People here are always making sure that I rest. That is so not me. Where's the next garden to plant?

Tito has promised to return and look at the new belt on the AC. It is not working correctly.

I turn on the computer and stream Countdown with my earset on.

I hear prayers and booming. Like a big party, like the 1812 Overture performed on July 4th.

I think lots of time has gone by and where is Tito?

Finally, I change out of this blessed skirt and put in the Big Chill to watch.

I am listening to Heard it throught the Grapevine and singing along when the phone rings.

It is Enoch Tombe. I pause the movie and remove one plug.


Judith, this is Enoch. I want to tell you that there is a curfew tonight from 5 PM to 6 AM. I can walk to the little store, but I wil not be driving anywhere. Why? Because of the attack on a part of Khartoum from terrorists from Darfur.

Do not worry, this is far away, but Tito got trapped away from home and he will be spending the night in the closest church. He lives where the fighting is.


OK. How to process this.

On his advice he tells me to turn on the TV. No TV. The Radio, cannot locate a radio. Then the internet to BBC.

Praise be to God for the BBC.

I call my neighbor Sami to make sure that he knows. He tells me he will be right over, be at the gate now, and hangs up. I meet him at the gate in my long sleeping shirt.

The cell phones have not been working for the past two hours. He has been calling here to make sure that I am home.

Love this man and mom.

He also tells me that he has been knocking on the gate, but of course I have been watching Countdown's Worst Persons in the World and laughing.

So, now I know what the booming was and why Tito did not return. I say a prayer for Tito.

Sami returns to work on the AC and I add pants. He gets it running and I am invited to come over and watch TV.

They have satillite.

We watch pictures from the other side of Khartoum. The "rebels" came from Chad. They were tracking them as they approached.

Do not ask why they were not stopped. Everyone is asking the same question.

Curfew is not extended to 10 AM.

Shucks no 8:15 AM service for me.

I end up watching TV outdoors on a bed, sipping hot tea and watching Oprah. The show where the pregnant man is being interview.

I keep saying, this is not America.

Then Dr. Phil. Geez.

Then Dance Fever. Shoot me please.

Then the movie that starred Brad Pitt and Tony Soprano. Shooting, sex etc.

This is Sudan?

No, this comes from Syria. And it is in English with Arabic subtitles.

All is well in the world.

I leave at 11:30.

AC is working.

But I awake at 12:30 to the belt squealing. So I turn off the AC and open the doors. I can sleep in this "warmth".

Sure, finally at 5:30 AM. But then I turn back on the AC. It is not squealing and I slept until 9:30 AM.

So, I am a little bit more understanding about how lives continue in the midst of chaos.

But, it does. And it does so safely.

Which I am.

Thanks be to God.


Calls to Prayer

I knew that I would like this.

Hearing across the breeze the call to prayer.

To be present to God.

To hear the everyday witness to God.

The first couple of days, I actually thought that traffic would stop. That drivers would get out of their cars and begin praying on mats they carried everywhere.

Shops would close for that 20-30 mintues. No coffee, tea or water purchsed.

No movement other than the sound of prayers and the up and down.

That did not happen.

On the other hand, those in the service industries are expected to "close" to pray. Resume after.

Of course, working at All Saints Cathedral does not necessarily put you in a place to see what happens during the call to prayer.

We are still working, or riding, or purchasing.

Tomorrow, Friday, is a non-working day. Here in Khartoum, in northern Sudan, the weekend is Friday and Saturday. People resume working on Sunday.

Tomorrow all government offices will be closed. So, we are closed as well.

This I do not understand, since how many goverment offices might we need at the Cathedral.

So tomorrow, I will have one day of my weekend, and the next day on Sunday.

I will work on Saturday.

When I travel to Juba, it will revert back to working Monday-Friday.

But, I digress.

Call to prayer.

I cannot imagine whipping out the BCP everytime the call goes out to worship.

Instead, I will take the time to be thankful to God.

Thankful for my family and friends.

Thankful for my home, work, playtimes.

Thankful for my cats and Tom who is looking after the cats.

Thankful for SsAM.

Thankful for this opportunity.

I might even go so far to say, that a call to be thankful might be a good thing no matter where you live or what you believe in or not believe in.




Picture this:

I am wearing a long skirt and top with short sleeves.

I am being called from room to room across the courtyard to the kitchen by Marta, inside the main room to check the air cooler, which is being repaired, back to the bathroom to squeegy out the water and mud from the floor, to helping the mechanic repair the air cooler.

Pioneer Woman.

Tito, still running around, had to fetch the parts for the air cooler, pick up propane (which is why the stove did not work), matches and now Nicholas.

Blessed Tito, Marta and now Mozz. Quite a collection I have got going.

Sami is working on getting the trash taken away.

Mozz will be back to morrow to install the brackets so that we can attach the awning to keep the sun off a little bit.

Before this all started, I was using a spreadsheet to smplifiy the financial statements that have been previously recorded long hand.

Showing them to Tito, he was very excited that it could be reduced to one page or maybe less than three.with detail.

Next, I will call the computer company and make sure that the computer that Tito thinks he needs will handle the program.

This is a much more productive day and it is only 2 PM.


In Praise of Tito

Until yesterday, Tito conjured up the Jackson 5 and Josip Broz Tito, who during World War II, organized the anti-fascist resistance movement known as the Yugoslav Partisans.

Now, I will always think of him when I hear that name.

Tito, the financial assistant, to Nicholas Lasuba is my new best friend.

This man spent today doing everything that had nothing to do with accounting. What he did before picking me up at 9:30 AM, I do not know, but this is afterwards.

We arrived at All Saints Cathedral and the Provincial offices. There I learned that Enoch Tombe had requested Tito to drive him around Khartoum and then return to the office.

I also learned that there are two cars available to the staff.

Tito was driving one and it was not working properly.

Sapanno was driving the other and he was going to run an Immigration errand around my stay in Khartoum. Another $90.00 fee. So around 10:30 AM, he leaves with my passport and money.
Tito is now off to pick up Nicholas, bring him to work and get the car repaired.

I am left by myself. What to do? That is another story.

Tito found out that Nicholas was very ill with a recurrence of Malaria. He would not be in.

Tito went to the car repair and stayed for about three hours.

Tito investigated the cost of another computer for the Khartoum office.
At this time, there is only one computer and it will be going with Nicholas when he transfers down to Juba.

Tito returns and he gulps down some soup and water and we are off to run errands.

However, instead of heading to the mall, Tito is going to let me experience “real” shopping. In the market place, along side the roads.

As we drive he points out changes, new buildings, traffic lights etc.

The first stop is at a merchant that sells anything made out of rubber or plastic that can fit in a one car garage.

Think Kmart on a very small scale.

I could buy a porch chair along side a water storage tank. Beach pails, laundry baskets, garbage pails, hoses, coolers, etc.

Now begins the conversation in Arabic, broken English and English.
Wherever I go, these three dialects accompany me.
Here Tito introduces me to Sudanese hospitality.

The Arab salesman listens to what we are looking for. A hose to attach water to the air cooler in the hopes this will get the machine working propertly. And, a plastic spreadsheet that will be jury rigged from the main room to the kitchen, providing shade for the courtyard. Also, a trash can.

Apparently, the housekeeper, who I have yet to see, thinks that throwing the trash in the garden in the entrance way in lots of small plastic bags is an appropriate way of disposing of garbage.

Tito is very patient with me as I ask what he just told the gentleman. The gentleman is also very patient as he listens to me try to explain in English that Tito does not really catch my drift on items two and three. So more explaining.

Then, the merchant suggests that I sit. He disappears. Tito tells me it is important that I sit.
I ask if it is to get me out of the way. Tito laughs, says no, but his eyes say yes.

Gentlman returns with two cold Pepsi's. Hospitality. I accept, say”Sucren” (Thank you) and sit.

Conversations continue about the proper hose, the length of the hose, (I need to relearn the metric system), what is a garbage can, and how will I attach the covering to the house.

Please note, that I never drink soda's, but today
inhaled that cold Pepsi. I do not think I even tasted it. My concern was cold liquid.

We leave with all items, two manufactured in Korea and one in China.

Next stop, the market, open aired, no mall or enclosed supermarket for this experience.

First thing Tito wants to introduce me to is the vendors with all types of meat hanging. A vegeterian nightmare. Good thing I like this dog.

I try to explain to Tito that to actually have to cut the long piece of meat is probably not going to happen. So, when we stop, I pick a piece of something and have the butcher chop it up for me.
This whole time, noise is blaring as all the meat vendors scream their prices over a loud speaker system.

In addition, Tito is having to fend off children selling larger shopping bags, wheelbarrows to haul your stuff, lemon salesmen everywhere, There are masses of people everywhere. If I were to suffer from claustophbia, this would not be the place for me.

Even though I know what is happening, Tito explains that “money” has entered the market and
all want some of it.

We leave with brown rice, some type of bean, beets, onions, greens, small zuchini, tomatoes, mangoes, apples, but no watermellon.

By now, both Tito and I are craving something cold and we are on a mission to find watermellons.

Tito is amazed that they grow in the states and that I knew what they were.

Arriving back at the car, it is being washed by a young boy. Excellent job, they haggle about the price off we go in search of mellon.

Spying some watermellons being sold along the road, of course going the opposite direction, Tito stops, maneuvers across the main highway and returns with not only the mellon, but the most delicious smelling fruit. This scent needs to be bottled.

We head home.

The gate will not open. Tito tries. I get Sami from next door. He brings his key. Does not open.

Tito goes with Sami to his house, climbs up on the wall and drops down into the courtyard. Door opens.

Bless Tito.

They both discuss garbage situation. I learn that housekeeper, who I have not seen, should be taking that away or seeing that it is taken away.

Both agree that hedges should be trimmed (oh boy gardening), the front patio cleaned up, and make it a place to sit with someone as the evening comes to a close.

Bless Tito (Sami).

Tito helps with trying to get the Air Cooler working. I do not think this is happening.

We cnanot figure the propane stove. Rascal will not get cooked meat tonight.

I send him on his way with a bottle of water, which he downs in one gulp. Filling him front head to toes.

His wife and child are waiting.

Bless Tito.


Middle of the Night

It is quiet here. It is really lovely outside.
Rascal and I are bonding under the moonlight.

Woke up thirsty. Need bottle from the fridge.
Now is a good time for an explanation of the house setup.
Picture New Mexico adobe colored wall with wrought iron gates painted dull yellow. This opens up into a small courtyard with trees to the right and nothing but tiles below and to the left.

This is a short of Sudan Rowhouse. Adobe one level houses attached. The courtyard looks out onto a large open area, where, I learned last night, teams play soccer. On dirt, no grass. One goal is right outside my gate.

Also outside are newly planted trees that are boxed in my wire to keep them safe.
The second set of gates are a full deep forest green, with bold faces of a sunburst where the key is put to unlook the doors.
You are now inside another courtyear, much bigger. Around the couryard are rooms with iron doors.

To the right is the kitchen. It holds the refrigerator, sink, cabinets and I think something to cook on. This is not my area of expertise.
Next door on the right leads to a bedroom area. Not mine.

Looking left I immediately identify the water tank. It is a miniature of hugh water tanks at thome. It connect so a room to the left, bathroom.

Everything you need in a bathroom is there.
Next door on the left opens out into the great room which is where a large dinning table and hutch are located as well as a sitting area, and piano.
There are two doors that lead into the bedrooms. Hers and mine.
Everything you need is here. So a quick walk across the tiles, lit by the outside gate lights. Back to the great room.
Decided to rearrange furniture. Need my bed in the cooler room.
Once done, back to bed.
God is Good.

Dateline Khartoum

It is hot.

However, I have suceeded in accomplishing alot today, by Khartoum Summer Time or KST for short.

I am grateful that Joanna does not have thermostat. That would only make it worse.

My trip was uneventul until I arrived in Khartoum, a beautiful city by air and at night.

As you read this, remember my sense of humor, my love of surprises, and the comedy that I find in the absurd.

Landing at night you are spared the oven temperatures that arrive by day. I walked through customs, without a problem. There was no VIP bus to the terminal so I was not concerned that Sapana Arona was not there to pick me up.

Nor was I concerned when the porter and I found all of my luggage.

I became concerned when I borrowed a phone from another porter, called Sapana and found out that he thought I was arriving Tuesday at 12:30 AM.


Lots of conversation between Sapana, John (porter who knows Sapana) and porter with phone.

My solution was to get me to a hotel asap. I could shower and hop into bed.

No, that is not the solution my three compadres decided.

Instead, I was to take a taxi to All Saints Cathedral and I would spend the night in one of the rooms at the Bishop's Guesthouse. Simply knock and the door will open.

Knock, knock, knock and knock.

Knock knock knock and knock.

Knock, knock ,knock and jump over wall. (Not me, quit laughing at that mental picture)

Porters disappear. I am left with taxidriver that speaks no English, but I did not have to speak Arabic to get the gist of some of his conversation.

He is annoyed that he had to sit and wait for porters that disappeared. He also liked the idea of a hotel too, but I did not have too much confidence in his hotel choices.

Finally, 2:30 AM and we have access to the grounds, but no room. All luggage removed from taxi.

Conversation about taxi charge. Fee is now doubled due to waiting. YIKES

Plus, all the time using the porter's phone has depleted his minutes. YIKES.

Caching, caching.

The room is hot, filled with desks.

It is at this point that I actually thought I might cry.

But, along comes another individual that takes all my luggage back to the guesthouse. I am offered a very spacious room with AC.

No food, no water, but AC.

And a toilet and shower.

So I hop into bed.

Cannot sleep.

Should blog.

Can't no computer, no internet.

So, pen to paper I remove all thoughts from the trip.

I awake to knocks on the door at 10 AM and the room is freezing.

Sapana has been to the house very early, they let me sleep.

Robin ( English ) and Sapana arrive to welcome me, apologize.

We talk as I eat a piece of bread with Jam and more water.

Life is good.


The Day Before


I always seem to underestimate the amount of work that needs to be done before I leave the house for a long period of time.

I thought I would lounge around in bed for a while. K called at 7:15 AM. Then the cats heard noise and wanted to be fed. It seemed like a nice day.

The lawn people showed up at 8:30 AM. I had just finished stringing up the roses through out the yard, hanging other summer ornaments in the trees.

And the cat food and litter. My chevy Aveo was having a hard time rapidly accelerating with such large bags of kibble and litter in the back.

Went to the Post Office and the bank and Happy Harry's for one more prescription.

Filled the car with gas, went to Home Depot.

Started cleaning the house and doing laundry. Ugh. Two chores I detest.

Yesterday, I saw my last movie until the fall. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Laughed the entire movie. (Big surprise).

Tonight at 9:30 PM, I will log onto British Airways and pick my seat for tomorrow's flight.

Tonight, more packing and ironing.

But I will watch my last live Countdown, Dr. Who, and Dae Joyoung while I do all of this.

K will protest these shows, but she will suffer willingly.

I am making my goodbye phone calls and completing my thank yous.

The feeling is one of body surfing on a wave. Slowly moving forward, head down, enjoying the ride.

As the wave completes its journey, satisfaction and the urge to do it again.