Taking Arabic Classes in Beirut

I had just spent two and a half weeks in Jordan, but nothing came out of my half-hearted efforts of taking Arabic classes there.  One course I tried to sign up for ran too long for my travel dates.  Then I just traveled (secretly happy that I had at least tried to take a class), and learned about Jordan …

She Stares at Me – A Confrontation in Dakar

She’s on the third floor, next to a statue from Cameroon.   She’s young and beautiful, just a girl really.  Her expression is difficult to interpret.  We pass a loudly chatting group of Senegalese women, all dressed in a medley of primary colors. I wish I’d understand what they’re saying, what they think of the recently …

Powerhouse Women of Kampala’s Literary Scene

I’m on the back of a boda boda, Uganda’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxi, worried about being late for a meeting.  In a traffic jam, my boda driver passes cars and other bodas in a way that should make anyone scared for their safety.  The drivers have helmets but there are none for the passengers.  I am …

A Brief Encounter in Tanga, Tanzania

I really hadn’t planned my visit to Tanga at all: the previous night in Dar es Salaam I had randomly booked a cheap hotel online.  As soon as I got there after my 6-hour bus ride from Dar, I headed out to wander around in the afternoon heat in search of food.  Although a big city, Tanga …