Posted by: sean | August 26, 2008

Back from the bush

I’ve been really, really terrible about keeping the site updated. And for that I apologize. Before, I could blame the state of African telecommunications, but since I’m back home where I have the internet at home and work, I’ve got no such excuses.

While I was away, I read Ngugi wa Thiongo’s Wizard of the Crow on the recommendation of a friend of mine. It was really wonderful, a mixture of Rushdie and Gunther Grass, but à l’africaine. Then, to keep with the theme of African dictatorships and as suggested by another friend, I read Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savanna, which is also a great read. There are so many passages that stood out on the page, but this is one of my favorites:

[A] genuine artist, no matter what he says he believes, must feel in his blood the ultimate enmity between art and orthodoxy.

Those who would see no blot of villainy in the beloved oppressed nor grant the faintest glimmer of humanity to the the hated oppressor are partisans, patriots and party-liners. In the grand finale of things there will be a mansion also for them where they will be received and lodged in comfort by the single-minded demigods of their devotion.

My trip was incredibly interesting. I traveled from Kenya to Zanzibar to Tanzania proper to Rwanda and Congo then through Uganda back to Kenya before leaving. It was tiresome to be on the move so much, so I was happy to come home to Beirut.

That being said, given our excruciatingly humid heat here, I miss the cool evenings of East and Central Africa. I also miss the smell of smoke that always seemed to fill the night sky. The latter, by the way, is completely different in the southern hemisphere. The stars are much more numerous and fill constellations that I’d never before seen. It’s amazing to think that something so fundamental to our lives as the sky can change upon crossing an imaginary line in the African dirt.



  1. I couldn’t think of a more exciting trip. You should have material for several posts.

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