The Pancha-what? First trip to an Indian Ashram.

How does one summarize 2 weeks  experience of a first-time in India, first-time in an Ashram and first-time doing a Panchakarma program? With a first-rate smile, I hope. First, let’s define the terms we’ll be referring to: 1. India, in this case the deep south-west, the province of Kerala. After flying into Trivanandrum (also known…

Running Water

When the water don’t flow the day feels incomplete. I walk around my single room flat with the incense I burn before I sleep and it and the flames of the candles show me imbalance – we have fire but we have no water. Running water that is. Of course I have reserve water. No…

No, Thank You, I’m allergic.

Just found this little pearl of a personal note from the end of last year, when I was clearly experiencing a classic case of Africa-fatigue …a malady which manifests in my person every so often with symptoms of abundant and exasperated sarcasm. 17.10.2018 – Thiès – Day 3 Because you’ve heated up water on the…

Knock knock

When you work for an African NGO in a small town where all of your colleagues are your only social circle and thankfully there are a few who you actually want to be friends with. I hear a tentative knock-knock on my bedroom door around 10pm. Sure we have been roommates now for close to…

Sweat and Smile more: it’s October in Senegal

It’s that month of the year in Senegal when we all secretly wish we could exit the country – it’s October. It’s our month when we endure the heat and humidity of the rainy season but without the welcome breaks that come with the coolness of the rains. In short, it’s hot and humid all…

Making inside of yourself a safe place to be

As I embark soon on a new adventure to a new place, one which is very likely to be less comfortable and entertaining from a Western perspective than my previous home base, I feel completely at peace with my decision. Driving around Calgary yesterday morning I imagined chatting with a local teenager about my choice…

Look up, look deep and tell me what you see

I’m fixing up my résumé, and it’s not for the first or the last time. I also realize that what I want to write is not necessarily what I should write. They tell me that I’m meant to list, yet again, my education and work experiences. I want to write the whole truth. I want…

The day that I became a Millionaire

“To get the price in Euros, take the local price and remove the last three zeros and then multiply the remaining number by 1.5”, it was my first day in Dakar and my boss was sharing some Dakar life tips with me. Like most people who first arrive in Senegal it was initially sluggish work…

Disconnect to Reconnect: about Wifi’s fuzzy reminder

“We invest our time and energy into who and what we value.” Morning meditation and conversations at the Offline House can go real deep, real quick. I’ve been happily resting and rejuvenating my body, soul and mind with surfing, nature, yoga and great books at a concept-Hostel in the south of Portugal called the Offline…

The Courage to Disappoint

Keep it real, I say to myself, as I’m writing this post. Keep it very real. “I’ve been plenty humbled these past few days”, I can hear my pride is trying to negotiate with me, “do we have to publish this failure on the web?” Yes, we do, I argue. Firstly because I do not…

Oh those darned things Grandmothers say

We while away the time by cooking and eating. My grandma cooks, and I eat. Before and after our copious meals we talk. It turns out that my grandma’s preserves and roast turkey hock also come with a rich accompaniment of home-cooked Polish expressions. Like idioms, just no one else has ever heard of them….

The so-called Universal Currency

“What time shall we have the meeting” I interrupt M., as he politely blinks up at me from his computer screen. “Whenever you like, whenever you like.” is his automatic reply. After nearly two years of working side-by-side with the head of our team in Senegal I’ve grown wise in his ways and I know…

The sole of the matter

I’m welcomed in to Djiby’s atelier a place on the work bench, cushion included, has been made for me. Today I’ll be taking notes and photographing the process. My mission: to learn how shoes are made, from start to finish. We’re with Djiby’s assistant, Pape, and the two men will be working in parallel for…

Blood stream

It’s nighttime and past my bedtime but for a day like today it’s worth sacrificing a little bit of sleep time. A perfect day. One of so many perfect days in Dakar. I like to practice managing annoyances wisely. Many hours sitting in car traffic equals a growing appreciation of audiobooks. My current audio lecture…

A pretty blouse, another tear masked

Stories about appearances. A year ago, in my day-job in Dakar, we were having a horrible time coming to terms with a jumble of various damaged rice bags belonging to different receivers. Imagine thousands upon thousands of bags, some in containers, rotting, others thrown into warehouse corners covered in cobwebs their colourful logos faded with…