On my way home from Kwamhlanga, I pondered how to describe my weekend away. My host mother had invited me there for a sojourn to her mother’s house. The town wasn’t far, but we would be staying overnight.
What was the occasion, exactly? “Church.”
I suspected there was more involved, since she had broached the subject weeks in advance and invested the days preceding in amassing buckets of handmade amakheki (sweet biscuits or ‘fat cakes’).
“What will we be doing?” I ventured, in my elementary Zulu.
Despite the apparent logic of these replies, I couldn’t quell the sense that something more awaited me.
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In February when the Peace Corps accepted my application to teach English in South Africa, my brain started turning over the all-important question: What to pack?
“I’m hoping to go with just a backpack,” I told a friend.
She was aghast. “No!”
Maybe she has a point, I thought. It doesn’t seem like much for two years and eleven weeks of living abroad. What if I’m not ready?
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Our first Sunday afternoon in Ecuador reflected the pace of life there — for the missionary family at least.
After our early morning dining and outings, we relaxed with the kids, welcomed the new guests, packed up for camp, and detoured to the beach on the way. At times like these, Kevin and Beka often can’t confirm our plans until days or even hours beforehand. Living life with them requires a flexibility and calmness comparable to a weather vane’s: ever pivoting, ever erect.
This particular day, the breezes blew fast but fair. Read the rest of this entry
The boys share a room. The girls share a room. The baby sleeps in the shower. All in all, seven people live in a wooden house built by Kevin himself. Dusky red-leaved plants line the yard; a frilly tree from Florida sprouts medicinal properties in the back. A wall painted sky blue encloses this patch of jungle. About a year ago, the family admitted the need for more space. Now a two-apartment guest house reclines, across the yard. Our first night there, its tin roof sheltered us from the downpour outside. The rain pounded as if from a shower nozzle, forcing Rachel and me to shout to each other over the noise. Read the rest of this entry
Its body barely houses a single pilot, but its wings stretch across an airport terminal. The man-powered craft, “Daedalus,” on display above the the escalators, weds fragility, with its transparent plastic skin, to the strength implicit in its wingspan. It’s a feat of engineering – and its name suits it. The famous Icharus could fly, but his father, Daedalus, built him his wings. Plus, Daedalus understood the properties of the building materials better, and so refrained from pushing them past the point of failure. No wonder the modern-day engineers chose his name for their work. Read the rest of this entry