Monday, February 11, 2013


Self-lecture I sternly wrote to myself when I first got to Tchad.  Came across it this morning.  Reminds me that nothing is more important than being fully present.  Nothing is as vivid and vibrant as is the consciousness of to be. 

Be Present: Be here.  Live in the moment, even when that moment is hard.  Embrace the sweat, the dust, the grime, the fever.  Embrace the chance to change. Listen.  To my family, to the doctors, to the nurses, to my friends, to anyone that blesses me with stories or insights.  With-hold judgment.  Wear others shoes.  Go barefoot in their feet.  Avoid hasty conclusions and all forms of gossip.  Speak only truthful things.  Be kind.  Go out of my way for others.  Don’t complain.  This is what I signed up for – the heat, the disease, the work, the experience.  BE PRESENT.  Work hard.   Other than wistfulness for those I love, dwell not on the past.  Don’t think about the future.  Don’t imagine other foods, other places, other temperatures, future times.  Don’t build castles and conversations and dwellings.  Be present.  Right now.  The future will arrive – do you want to say you spent the year you dreamed of being lost in a future dream? This, this is my dream.  Helping people is hard.  Helping people is thankless.  Helping people causes brutal introspection.  But helping people is the only thing worth doing.  Work hard for the people.  Work hard to give them optimal health.  Work Hard on Project 21.  Do not complain.  Attempt to lighten the burdens of others.  Spend time in the village, not in the compound.  Look for ways to pull your weight and be helpful.  Be cheerful. Be excited.  Be present.  Wake up. This is your dream.  

Just as applicable as it was a year ago.  I guess its the human experience to have to learn the same lesson over and over and over again yet have the capacity to experience a new sense of wonder as you re-realize your recurring epiphany.  



 You called from the urn where your ashes stirred

        charred dust of a haunting plea.

Listen now to what I have heard

        as we set each other free.

Take a pinch of my eyes you said

        and fling them into the breeze.

Speak to me of the color red

        when the sun takes leave of the seas.

Dip your toes in my crumbled feet

        and march where you’ve never gone.

Diverge with me from the cobbled street

        and dance to my barefoot song.

Scatter me at the foot of a pine

        at the heart of a needled wood.

Root my soul to the mossy shrine

        where the Coeur d’Alene once stood.

Take a whiff of my nose you said

        a line from my nares to your brain.

Inhale warm waft of fresh-baked bread

        or the lush clean musk of rain.

Release a grainy puff of grey

        to the gust of a northbound wind.

Whisper to me that you will not stay

        in the place you have always been.

I looked in the urn that the ashes fled

        echoed space of a haunting plea.

I live through you, so what is dead?

        just tell me, are you free?

*** To Kimmy.  Poem that definitely did not win the poetry contest - but that I want to share anyway - its good to be slapped in the face that I just need to write better that's all.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013



I will not forget you.

It may seem like I did.

But I didn't.

You might think I don't care.

But I do.

You might feel I stopped fighting.

I didn't.

Every day, I get up and go to work in the morning so I can come back to you.

I'm buying a car this month.
I'm renting a cabin in the coming months.
I'm setting up a home to come back to.
I'm making it so I can give my life to you while still taking care of myself.

I'm working a job I would have never taken - had it not been for you.

I'm getting community health experience for you.

I'm learning about vaccines for you.

I'm learning how to supervise/manage for you.

I'm studying French for you.

I didn't forget.  I couldn't forget.  I cannot forget.  I must not forget.  I will not forget.

I fall into bed exhausted.

But it is for a purpose.

I might feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be right now - but I am here, so one day I can be there again.

Car. Cabin.  Money in the bank.  Language skills.

Then - apply to MSF.  I will apply in May.

Also apply to Liverpool or London School of Tropical Medicine - backup plan.

I'll get back.

I'll start reading one news article per day.  Even though it hurts so bad to do so.

I cannot I will not I must not I will never forget.

I promise you right now.

I'll be back.

To Africa, with love.

You are my heart.  You have my soul.

I will return.