Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Retreat

The past few days, I have been on a mini writer's retreat which has been fabulous. I've included a picture on the left of the view from the hotel lobby/dining area of Lake Victoria. It has always been comforting for me to spend time next to the ocean, and I've found the last few days, that a lake will also do just fine. I was surprised how little time I have had to write so far on the trip. Pretty much every day, we are out in the field spending time with people. We usually leave around 8a.m. and on average, don't get back to wherever we're staying until 8p.m. By the time we have dinner and wash up, I'm usually so exhausted I go straight to bed. So I definitely needed the time to write. I have nine finished articles under my belt documenting my first five weeks of travels. Woo hoo!!! I was hoping for 10, but just couldn't eek out the last one. Oh well. I figure nine will keep me humble. Tomorrow, I'll be leaving the hotel and going back to the familiarity of traveling and interviewing people, which I am looking forward to.

It's been somewhat challenging, writing non-stop for three days. I think the part I've struggled with the most was reliving all of the stories I've heard. I still can't believe the things that I've seen and heard the past few weeks. Tonight I was organizing photos to include with my story submissions and just started crying over the photos I took of mothers with their HIV positive daughters. Not so much because it's horrible to think most of the little girls probably won't get to grow up, but I think I was crying because of the overwhelming love these women have for each other and the fact that they were willing to let me in to their world, if even for just a few hours.

So I'm finally done sorting photos and editing stories, and will now begin the task of packing. Staying at this hotel has been a treat for a number of reasons, but I think the best part (besides having uninterrupted time to write) was getting to put my clothes in a closet and on shelves. That sounds crazy, but in 44 days of traveling, this is the first time I have actually been able to somewhat unpack. Most places I've stayed are pretty tiny and don't have a closet or dresser, so I've gotten used to wrestling my behemoth of a bag every morning to find my clothes. So getting to unpack for a few days...heaven.

I almost forgot! This afternoon, I was in an earthquake! Just a little one, but a real, African earthquake. I had to stop and think where I was... Uganda or California?

Tomorrow, I am going to TASO, The AIDS Support Organization, which I am thinking will be great. Friday, am not sure what my schedule is and on Saturday I leave for Kenya. I'll be traveling within Kenya with other CRWRC workers to Ulungu for an evaluation of a community they have been working in for over 7 years. The community is doing great, have met their goals and CRWRC is getting ready to pull out. It should be a really interesting story to write. After that, I'm traveling to Mombasa for a few days, then to Zambia for a week, and finally back to Uganda for 10 more days, and then home! The time is flying by which is nice, and while I love Africa, I have to admit that I miss home. That's all for now. Thanks as always for reading.
-Kristen

3 comments:

radiep said...

I think your experiences in Africa will totally change how you think about life. What a privilege it is to live life with the African people!

Hazel said...

thank you for Kristen. It's quite amazing for me to be able to somehow share your stories. Much love, Aunt Hazel

rubyslipperlady said...

It's OK to miss home. I do, too. Somedays just more than others.