remembering life in a village



I am working on putting together some of my favorite photos from the last decade of traveling and living in Africa, which is bringing back a flood of beautiful memories. Some of these take me back to when I was living in a village in Benin doing research every summer. This is a favorite of mine: all of the basins lined up outside of a home – carefully placed in a row and standing at attention. These basins were used to carry water, cook food, do laundry, and to store water or food. In so many ways, they were a central part of life, each one’s shape useful for its task. To me they are reminders of learning how to use each one – how to carry water on my head, to cook over a stove, to pour water into a water jar and shower under the stars. For me these basins hold beautiful memories.

a photo a day… in 2013

2013 is going to be a year of transition. Even if you were to ask, I do not have answers on what is next, but I promise there are things brewing and that I am filled with wonderful anticipation. As I begin another season of life, I am excited to remember the original tagline of this blog, “A piece of where I am.” This has been a place for me to write about the journey and to find beauty in where I am. As this year of transition begins, I want to record it and share it.

In addition to writing about “where I am,” I am launching a fun little photo project. In 2013, I will be posting a photo a day through Instagram (tagged with #365), and will share those photos in a weekly blog post with some thoughts to wrap up the week. I will collect these photos in a little book to share with you at the end of the year. This blog has often helped me to find the beauty that surrounds me, and I believe this project will do that as well. My hope is that, as I search for beauty in where I am, that you too will be blessed.

Just to fill you with anticipation, here are some instagram photos from 2012.


Chilling in my hammock (Kigali, Rwanda).


Flying places: sometimes in small planes (Uganda).


Old land (Northern Kenya).


Making coffee on the road (Ndola, Zambia).


Handwashing station in the desert (Northern Kenya).


Big flower, little bee (Northern Uganda).


Village scenes (Lira, Uganda).


House projects Africa style (Kigali, Rwanda).


Sunset and lake (Michigan, USA).


Hiking Ben Nevis (Scotland).


Coffee (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).


Ancient buildings (Rome, Italy).


Old art (Rome, Italy).


Water and islands (Hydra, Greece)


Interesting signs (Marsabit, Kenya).


Beautiful and yummy food (Atlanta, USA).


City sunset (Atlanta, USA).

I hope that you too are filled with anticipation as we prepare to ring in the new year!

All my love,

~pam (the nomad)

drying wheat

This is the mountain that I visit regularly here in Rwanda because it is where our water projects take place. It seems like I nearly always visit during rainy season though – not intentionally, just the way it happens. It is fun to see it change with the seasons, here with wheat drying.


her cuteness

At the end of a day of asking questions, taking photos and being inspired by the great work of our partner in Northern Uganda, I was about to get in the car when this young one was smiling from here eyes straight into my heart. In the background you can see part of a family compound. To me, she shall be known as ‘her cuteness’.

bee and flower

I just got back from another quick trip to the Sorwathe Tea Factory, which I promise to tell you about soon. For now, a picture from their gorgeous gardens.

the gift of spring

My trip to Scotlan was absolutely wonderful, and now that I am home I do not want to go to bed because tomorrow’s morning alarm will mean it is truly over. One of the many gifts I was given on this trip was to witness the start of spring. Fresh buds, spring flowers, and new leaves are all filled with magic to me – signs of life after a long winter. Although I love my perpetual summer on the equator, I miss the magic of spring and fall, and this was so sweet. This photo was taken on Ben Nevis in the highlands of Scotland.

sunset at the tea factory

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when I was at the Sorwathe Tea Factory for the night. It was absolutely stunning and wonderfully peaceful. Before long, I will share a bit more about the bed & breakfast, the view, and the good work that Sorwathe does. For now, I am sitting in the airport getting ready to head to another country filled with beautiful hills – Scotland – so it shall have to wait. Get ready for pictures of old buildings, good food, and beautiful countryside to be taken with my camera that is waiting there for me. Sigh. Vacation will be wonderful. So thankful my brother and sister-in-law moved to Edinburgh!

beach sunset

Last week I was camping on the beach. More to come later, but it was pretty ideal. Here I was starting dinner as waves softly crashed on the beach in front of me and the sun set behind me. Excellent company and cocktails in hand topped it off perfectly. Today, I am sitting at a desk in an air conditioned office hiding from the heat and humidity outside dreaming up future adventures that will look something like this photo.

a flower to start the week

These flowers just seemed a beautiful photo to start off this week. I grew up around frangipani trees in Fiji where they were used to make wonderfully fragrant leis. In the evening their fragrance is the strongest – inviting you out to enjoy a perfect island sunset. But, since I have not been back to Fiji for more years than I care to mention, this picture was taken at the Tennessee Aquarium in the butterfly exhibit earlier this year. If you live in the area (Chattanooga, TN), you should carve out some time to visit the aquarium – it makes for a wonderful day when the islands are far away.

portrait with attitude

Meet Febby. She is a Community Health Promoter here in Zambia. She teaches her neighbors about how to improve the health of their community. When I took her portrait she struck this pose that is filled with all the wonderful, life-filled attitude that she takes into her community. As I prepare for the 30 hour journey home, I could not help but share this with you. May your Sunday be blessed.

a village scene

For the next week, I will be sitting in front of my computer and piles of papers. I am glad I got this beautiful breath of fresh air in Uganda just before this time. Images of fluffy clouds, brilliant skies, and picturesque villages will be dancing in my head while I stare at technology.

storm brewing

Today was a beautiful day in the field – got to see some places where there will be water projects and places that I have been in the past that now have safe water. At the end of our day, as the rain clouds were threatening serious rain, I was snapping a last few photos before we raced the storm home. Beautiful.

And no, I have not forgotten about my brother’s wedding. It was beautiful and I hope to sort through my photos and put a few up with a few thoughts about the wedding. For now, check out Lar & Cath’s blog (Matt’s bride and her twin sister) and the photographer’s blog for a few pictures of the wonderful day. Since I was in the wedding, they probably (slow internet here in Northern Uganda) have much better photo documentation than I will anyway.