what’s to eat

With contributions from staff, chef supreme Xukun prepares a daily office lunch. Our mid-day fare ranges from Somali standards like spiced rice and camel meat, to lentil stews, to my personal favorite, fried fish with chapati. Chapati is a bit time consuming, as it’s prepared piece by piece on the stove. But today we lucked out…

on an upswing

The past few months have been funky, to say the least. Not only for me but for nearly everyone in my worlds: The US is going through some sort of adolescent tantrum, wrought with resentment, bigotry, and disappointing indications that we haven’t been paying attention in class over the past few hundred years. Somaliland and Somalia…

on Stone Town

No exaggeration: Zanzibar is one of the most stunning places on earth. Stone Town, its capital, knows this, and flaunts it. Herewith, a few photos of a “living museum” incarnated as a fabulous hotel; a walk through old Stone Town; and views of the Indian Ocean from a rooftop café. Links at bottom. Every sunset is one…

on Roda, and resilience

Roda invited us into her tea shop, a wooden frame of sticks and crunchy, curled, leaves shading customers from the sun. We had made our way into rural Somaliland for monitoring activities, and at one stop we chatted with Roda, businesswoman and single mother of six. A tea kettle sat on smoking logs, and we sat on woven mats on the ground….

on the beach

I spent childhood summers on the South Carolina coast eating tuna sandwiches with my maternal family, sipping Fresca while the grownups sipped from Canadian beer cans sweating inside fluorescent coozies. I have fond memories of sunscreen, mysteriously persistent sunburns, salt-soaked bathing suits, toes reaching for sandbars, catching crabs in freshwater inlets, and searching for shells at low…

on disappointment

a strength that comes with age, to my utter satisfaction, is the diminishing of Fears of Unusual Proportion. those situations or conversations that years before might’ve rendered you weak in the knees with stomach in knots are now set in relief against such a breadth of life experience that their power over you is a fraction…