Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Recent Conversation with a 13-year old who is coming my hair for 15 minutes


  • edge up (verb) - to cut the hair with electric clippers in order to make an even hair line on the forehead, temples, and neck
  • edge up (noun) - the even (or uneven) hair line created when using electric clippers to smoothen the hair line on the forehead, temples, and neck


“Why did you get that edge-up?”

“What edge-up?”

(pointing to my hair) “That edge-up.”


“Umm, I don’t think I edged it up. It’s just hair recession.”

“But why did you edge up your hair like that?”

“I didn’t edge up my hair.”

“Yes, you did, you have an M edge up.” (pointing to my forehead)

“My hair is not edged up like an M. It’s hair recession.”

“Well, why would you edge it up like that?”

“It does it naturally. The hair line starts to recede. No one edged it up like that.”

“I wouldn’t do that.”

(thinking he doesn’t know the word recede) “I didn’t do that! It’s natural.”

“You should get a different edge up. Who is your barber?”

“Its natural man! The hair just stops growing. It just stops growing, man!”

“Oh, you mean you’re bald?”


“Let’s go get some breakfast.”


Hello, and Happy Kwanzaa, Joyful Christmas, Merry Hanukkah, and Peaceful New Year to you!

Not much has gone on with me since I last wrote. I was able to take a few peaceful trips. I’m trying to be and live healthier and part of that is spending time in nature most days. So I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel to East Africa and visit my flatmate in Tanzania and Kenya. I was working with her to find an NGO with which she could volunteer and do legal work. She found one in Tanzania doing legal work on behalf of widows and women. I also helped her with housing there. So I went down to check it out. It’s nice to go to Tanzania and not do the touristy thing like most people do. They arrive, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, go to Zanzibar, and then do a safari in the Serengeti. I was able to hang out with local people, go into town, sit on war tribunals (a parallel court system to Western government courts), visit farm land over which there were disputes, travel on lakes, hike, visit cave and rock paintings, and laugh. I didn’t climb Kilimanjaro (most Kenyans and Tanzanians have not) or go to Zanzibar, but I did go on a safari for the first time in my life, as Alice really wanted to do so. It can actually be an amazing experience. I did one night in the Ngorongoro Crater and a 3 day trip in the Maasai Mara (northern part of the Serengeti in Kenya). Sleeping in a tent and hearing the laughing hyenas, the hooting baboons, and the growling lions as if they were right next to you was amazing. I spent time with Maasai villagers and warriors, danced with them, and laughed with them. It was really beautiful.

Sadly, a trip to Egypt was canceled. An intern of mine was getting married and invited me informally before she had a date. Later when she had chosen a date, she thought those had formally invited me and didn’t. She didn’t want to push because foreigners were scared to go to Egypt due to the turmoil. I was waiting for the formal invite and more information but I didn’t want to push because I thought she had too many people to deal with. So we missed each other sadly. It has been wedding season though. A Texas, South Africa, and Namibia wedding in November (I didn’t go and wasn’t invited to all). A Portland, Oregon wedding and a Yosemite wedding in September. And just wonderful time to travel through Oregon and northern California and view nature. Egypt was in August. And October I had a break. In November I took a short visit to Oxford to attend a talk by Bianca in their Social Policy and Intervention department. I just came back from a wedding in the States in Dallas and that was mind-blowing. Forget about properly planning the reception. The wedding ceremony itself was overflowing with people standing in the back of the church and people outside in the hallway. And this was with the edict that kids were not allowed at the wedding. Wow.

Of course, I visit students when I can and still hold onto the American tradition of Thanksgiving wherever I am, if I am able to do so. I’ve started work again on a school reunion though it’s been harder this time to rally people. Thankfully, one wedding proved surprisingly successful in recruiting volunteers, so it will turn out well in the end.

In September, I traveled to South Africa to speak at a conference of and for teachers. I’ve started helping teachers to reap the benefits of educational technology in low-resource settings. It’s hard work, but good work. I’m going to go do disaster response work in the Philippines soon. I’m always happy to do meaningful work like that, especially in the area of disaster risk reduction (DRR) or disaster preparedness. I’ve taken a break from some of my online courses due to focus on other things. I’m reading more now including fiction, and I’m loving it. If any of you wants to do a small book club, I’m always down and interested. I still try to cook meals and still learning instruments (like the accordion and ukelele) as well as counseling, working with ex-offenders, teaching, etc. There’s a choir that is interested in me, so they may actually find time to let me sing with them in a concert (you can always go to rehearsals but must audition to sing in a concert, but only when they need more of your voice part). I’m just getting adjusted to life in a new city and searching for locations to run a Sparks club. My last location fell through. In the meantime, I was cast as a zombie extra in an independent film but had to bow out due to a crazy weekend. But the idea was fun, and I look forward to the next independent film since I usually do stage work. In the meantime, I’m just hanging out with friends (Ekaaro, ekaasong) and even crazier friends (pigeon english), attending get-togethers and Christmas parties, taking cooking classes, and making my first double-layer cake.

I hope the latter half of the year has been meaningful to you, regardless of whether circumstances have been favorable, that in each situation whether bad or good, you have had the opportunity to respond well. I hope you responded well, displayed resilience and have had community around you to help you do that. I hope you are able to form and foment that even more so this coming year and in the holiday season. Happy Holidays.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Wonderful series of photos.