the move is happening

There has been so much going on and something has had to give in order for me to keep my sanity. Sadly, that has been the blog lately. I will be back soon to take you with me on my journey to Rwanda. It is all happening right now. I leave Nashville on Tuesday for 4 days at the Fetzer Institute where I have been asked to be an advisor on the Engineering Council. Then Friday to Atlanta and then Saturday on to Rwanda. Soon I will be able to carve out time to share more, maybe even using those plane rides…. but for now, check out the blog post I wrote on the Blood:Water blog announcing my move.

i am moving to rwanda

I am moving to Rwanda. The final decision was made last Thursday, and I celebrated with drinks and games (I kid you not – I love board games and card games), and announced it to the world on twitter. I said there would be more details this week, and so here I am getting ready to share a few thoughts.

But, what I really want to do is to go back to that discussion on toilets and dignity. You see, there is this great article titled, “Donor aversion to ‘unsexy’ water projects threatens development goal.” It is all about the sanitation goal to halve the number of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015 and how that goal will not be met because sanitation is not sexy. But, I guess the article is written, and you can read it, so I shall get back to Rwanda. Just know I will return to toilets again in the future.

I will be moving to Rwanda in October to do my current job with Blood:Water Mission while based in Africa. The idea is that this will save me a lot of hop-skipping-and-jumping over that small pond called the Atlantic Ocean. It should also prevent days being lost to jet leg and hopefully I will get to be home (my new home) a bit more on the weekends while getting to be with our amazing African partners even more. For you dear readers, this means more stories and pictures from Africa.

I have started to think about the move. Part of me wants to say much more right now, but I need a chance to think, to process. And then I will share. You see, transitions are not easy. They are hard and difficult and beautiful too. They are stories of living, of goodbyes, of helloes, of the past and of the future. It all gets jumbled up and sometimes it is hard to sort out. And that will very much be where I am for the next while.

Right now, I know that I ordered a some fun bowls and plates to take to Rwanda. Yellow and purple, they are bright and happy, just what I imagine my future kitchen to be.


arriving in nashville

I recently received an email from a friend titled “Breathing Check.” Yes, I am alive. Alive and well. I haven’t written as life has been busy, and the beginning of my time here was trying in its own way. On day three in town I found my one of my car windows busted and my car stereo stolen. Annoying at any time, day three was in the midst of painting multiple rooms in my house, living with friends to 45 minutes away to avoid sleeping amongst the paint fumes, learning the roads in a new town, and starting a new job. So it took a little longer to be able to write a sane blog than I thought it would. Since day three I have managed to finish the wall painting, move in, find some random pieces of needed furniture, unpack most of my crap, get the car fixed, start to figure out the new job, have a few good nights of hanging out with people from the office, and generally avoid traumatic events. As the police officer said, it should all be uphill from here.

moving my crap

The moving van is loaded with my crap. By crap I really mean my treasures, except that they are mostly not. It is really the memories that are attached to these objects or the possibilities that they represent that somehow transform them into treasures.

My Jordanian serving dishes are a memory of seven years spent in the Holy Land, a reminder of Arab hospitality, and the possibility of many a good meal to be served to friends. The Palestinian wine glasses hold memories of long nights of merriment. Although I have yet to break one, I bought 18 with the hope of being left with a small set 20 years later with which to continue to make memories.

There is a box of pottery that represents a year of being soothed by the repetition of a potter’s wheel, of letting beauty be created from my hurt and exhaustion. There are fragrant spices that have slowly been collected from around the world that bring my food to life. There are boxes of journal papers and field notebooks that are a testimony to five years of research at Notre Dame and in Benin. There are boxes of photos and enlarged prints that are a reminder of where I have been and the people that fill my heart.

There is an art table at which to create. There is a breakfast nook at which to serve meals. There is camping gear galore. There is a bed on which to sleep.

These are all just things, just crap of one sort or another. I could loose it all and I would still be complete, and yet in moving it from my home to what will become my home, there is a process of remembering. A processes of saying goodbye, letting go, and opening the arms and heart wide to the next place that will hold all my crap.

An so, tomorrow morning circa 7am, the moving van, me, and all my crap are on the road to Nashville.