Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Because I missed Africa today.

I have recently been reading a lot about Africa, ok let me rephrase that....( I always read a lot about Africa)

This summer I read a few more books about Africa that were just lovely. It made me miss Africa. Michael just got back from Mozambique and talking to him has reminded me a great deal of how much I loved being there.

Here are some quotes that I just loved from two of the books I read:

From the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (which I highly recommend)

"If chained is where you have been, your arms will always bear the marks of the shackles. What you have to lose is your own story, your own slant. You'll look at the scars on your arms and see mere ugliness or you'll take great care to look away from them and see nothing. Either way, you have no words for the story of where you came from-we are our injuries as much as we are our successes"

"I took a deep breath and told myself that a woman anywhere on earth can understand another woman on a market day. Yet my eye could not decipher those vendors: they wrapped their heads in bright-colored cloths as cheerful as a party, but faced the world with permanent vile frowns. They slung back their heads in slit-eyed boredom while they did each other's hair into starbursts of astonished spikes. I was pale and wide-eyed as a fish. A fish in the dust of the marketplace, trying to swim, while all the other women calmly breathed in that atmosphere of overripe fruit, dried meat, sweat, and spices, infusing their lives with powers I feared." (page 88)

And from Finding Beauty in a Broken World,
by Terry Tempest Williams:

"What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another?" (page 199)

"If you do violence to me, you do violence to yourself because we are all human beings." (page 228) (writing above the door of a church where many were killed in Rwanda)

I finally, a quote that I think sums up much of what I feel for Africa:

"If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will."
Mother Teresa

There you have it. Read about Africa- those books are great, as well as the best website of all: allafrica.com

(All pictures, except for first one from Yellowstone 2009, taken in Mozambique 2004)


  1. read richard dowden's "africa" OMG - SO GOOD. also just finished antije krog's "country of my skull" which is amazing, but brutally hard to read. and i'm in the middle of "gods and soldiers" which is also wondrous.

    love you.

    [ps i have 1 million other recommendations if you'd like them... hahahha]

  2. let's go back then, yeah? just forget that whole baby thing. we need a girl trip to south africa. love and miss you.



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