in a different place.

I moved on Thursday. (p.s. I'm totally over this whole moving thing. Twice in one year is bad for the soul methinks.)

Anyway, it has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I think I realized for the first time that I'm white. Is that weird? Maybe it's because I grew up in a small town in south Alabama and went to an all-white high school and mostly-white college, but I've never really been "white" before. Or at least, I've never really had to think about it.

I'm now living in a place where I am most definitely in the minority, and it's weird. I hate to say that, but it's true. I know that race doesn't matter in the big scheme of things - I mean, we all bleed red and all that, but there is still this unfamiliarity I have with other cultures and races that makes being in the minority a little strange for me. Is it ok for me to say that out loud?

I think I like it though. I think I need this. I think everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone every once in a while. You know why? Because maybe (as I think the case is here) your comfort zone might actually be hindering you from the kind of life you deserve to live.

God created a multicolored family for a reason. I think He wants to show me. I mean, why else would he bring me from Magnolia Springs, Alabama to Harlem? I intend to find out.

p.s. If God is taking you out of your comfort zone, I'd love to hear about it. It's way easier to do this when I have company :)



i think that maybe i'm crazy.

I've been thinking a lot about my trip to Africa, trying to decide what exactly it meant to me. And somehow, I only came up with one incredibly surprising thing.

I am proud to be an American.

I know, I'm crazy. I go to Africa and I get all Lee Greenwood on you. But for all the things America stands for that I loathe (i.e. greed, selfishness, obesity, sloth - basically a majority of the 7 Deadly Sins), I truly am blessed to live here.

For one thing, I can have this blog and say whatever I want on it without the fear of someone hunting me down and cutting off my fingers. Seriously, some people don't have that "luxury". I can vote for whoever I want, again without fear of dismemberment. I can believe what I want, say what I want, learn what I want, do what I want, as long as it doesn't kill anybody.

And there are people who died to make that happen. There are people today still making tough choices to ensure that it stays that way. I don't always agree with those choices, but I have to believe that over all, whoever is in charge is doing the right thing, and that ultimately the Lord is in control. And that He put me in the United States of America for a reason.

Why I realized this in Kenya is a little difficult to explain. Obviously, the stark contrast to our freedoms here was a bit overwhelming. I get pissed here if my water smells too much of the chemicals that make it clean. Kenyan children walk up to 20 miles a day to get semi-clean-ish water. You think unemployment here is bad? Try 40% in Kenya. And violence? There are between 250,000-400,000 internally displaced people STILL living in tents in the Rift Valley after the election in 2007. (By the way, that range means they really have NO IDEA how many are out there.)

I never have to worry about that. But what I do have to worry about is why I don't have to worry about it. Is there a reason the good Lord (who really is good, by the way) put me here and not there? I think there is. I think we are blessed so that we can bless others. That is the only thing I can think of. That is what we are here for. And oh my, if Americans really lived up to what they are here for, the world would seriously be a better place. We can make the world a better place.

And I think we are trying. America sends billions and billions of dollars to third world countries. I think Bush sent 48 billion to Africa alone. Not to mention all of our philanthropists and missionaries who send not only money, but people and time, one of America's most beloved resources.

I won't keep going, but suffice it to say that as wicked as America and Americans can be, there is so much good here that we cannot overlook nor take for granted. We have one of the most organized governments in the world - so much so that a pothole doesn't even go unnoticed. A pothole. Have you ever driven in Africa??

Exhibit A.

Fixing a flat tire. This happens quite often.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this - especially from you non-Americans out there...what is your view on America vs. the "third world"? Are we "here" and others "there" for a reason?


and I'm back.

It is so hard to answer the questions, "So how was your trip to Africa?" The right words never seem to come. Hence, I'm not going to use any words for the time being. For now I will leave you with some photos that hopefully do justice to the wonder that is Africa, and the beauty of the people we were blessed to encounter. In the meantime I'll try and make my brain come up with words that will suffice...

Photos by Stephen DeVries of Bedouins International.

Read some awesome stories and see more photos on the Bedouins Blog. Personal experiences coming soon!