The ladies who rode with me on a train in Tanzania

On a train ride from Mpanda to Tabora, Central Tanzania, I was grateful for my gender. Without it I wouldn’t have joined these boisterous ladies.  Sweya peels her green-skinned orange and shares it, a wedge for each of us—Celine, Lucille, Jennifer, Jennifer’s son and the foreigner. At the next stop I disembark, seeking a snack […]

The unexpected pleasure of putting bicycles on trains in Tanzania

In China, Ilona was forced to put her bicycle on a separate train, one specifically for freight. It arrived in Urumqi a few days after her passenger train had. This is better than never arriving, but does give rise to uncomfortable thoughts about whether one’s bicycle journey will be allowed to continue or will be […]

Reminded of our ignorance in Tanzania

Evan was barely letting Deo respond before firing another question, excited as we were to have a conversation in English. We all stood, us straddling bicycles in leafy shade, him under the sun on the dirt road. We’d paid this older man no attention, his ‘salama’ returned like a thoughtless volley. We were eager to […]

Thoughts: I deleted my Instagram account, permanently, in Uganda, here's why

My ankles don’t feel much of anything, but they did help me with a change. Stretched out on a bed enclosed in mosquito netting, a languid voice instructed me to gently move the spotlight of awareness from my feet up to my ankles. Ankles have sensations? The task was both playful and difficult, but more […]

Afraid and excited in Kenya's Kakamega Forest

Even though we’d been careful to duck into the Kakamega Forest unseen, our bicycles still needed locking up for the night. A narrow, thorny tree beside a decomposing log was the only thing that would accommodate the cable lock. Gingerly, I placed myself near the log and to the minimum extent required reached through the […]

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