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    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    this came in from a fellow world traveler regarding my expereince with Gift in Malawi:

    I have struggled with this throughout my travels.  It is quite an
    interesting subject. It is so hard to look at things from a different
    perspective. It has been explained to me, and this may not be the case
    in Africa, but I would guess it is, that culturally it is expected that
    if you are one that HAS, you will share, willingly and happily. That
    simple. Those that have share, those that don't just ask for and get
    what they need from those that have. Completely different from our
    culture. It goes way back in time to early indigenous, native cultures
    where everyone was one family, one village and they all took care of
    each other as family. Tough for us to comprehend coming from a world
    where "mine" is one of the first words kids learn to say.

    I like perspective!


    Blog for 6/19/07: Location: Kigali, Rwanda

    I'm awaiting the arrival of a reporter at a cafe who will be riding with me a few days and together we'll be putting together an article for the local and international press. Rwanda is a factinating country, very hilly, naturally breathtaking, and the people are super warm and friendly...almost too friendly. it's hard to get a moment to myself out on the road as someone is always chasing me on the bike or on foot. When I stop I'm surrounded by dozens, or even 100 people! They don't get many visitors outside the touristy mountain gorilla route...

    You would never know that the world's largest genocide occured here just over a decade ago-there are modern buildings, business as usual and a peaceful vibe. But one can sense that there is still some healing going on...

    I'm heading off on a 4 day expedition to the cultural/intellectual capital of Butare in the south near the border of Burundi. I'm a bit behind schedule from my burnout blues/recovery session in Uganda, but heck, 5 days of riding in Rwanda is better than nothing, eh?

    Over and out from the heart of Africa!


    Latest blog on 6/10/07

    Well folks, based on some feedback from our supporters, I’m going to do a better job keeping a regular blog. Excuse me as I get used to this new way of updating…

    I’m in a hammock on Lake Bunyonyi in the mountains of Uganda. This is my “recharging station” of sorts, as I have been struggling with a mean case of the traveler’s burnout blues. I tried to fight through it on an expedition into the remote hills of south western Uganda but I could not muster the strength to pull out a camera much less tackle the steep, rocky, muddy, brutal roads. The colors, sounds, faces, smells and experiences on the road were beginning to become dull and bleak.

    I felt empty, sad, totally uninspired and unmotivated. This is rare for me as I’m normally quite the go-getter, charger type of guy able to see the beauty and get fired up easily. Since my mom left I’ve been super down. I keep meeting people, growing close, then saying goodbye. After months of doing this and living out of small black bags it wears on you. It sure did with me. This is all a sign of the burnouts, so I needed a checkup from the neck up, and some time to chillllllll.

    So I hit this resort called Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort and the owner hooked me up with a luxury safari tent overlooking the lake for free, as long as I need recharging. And it’s just what the doctor ordered. Been watching movies, reading, sleeping long hours, napping, hammocking and just spending as much time as I can doing as little as possible. Finally I’m feeling my strength both emotionally and physically to get on the bike and ride 4 days to the border of Rwanda, then about 6 days around Rwanda to Kigali, then making my way back to Tanzania to Zanzibar for the ZIFF film and music festival. I’ve been blessed to have been given rights to film international world musicians coming in from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Pemba, USA, China, India, Egypt, Netherlands and Denmark! Score!

    So I’m happy to report I’ll be back on the road tomorrow and will be charging it all the way until I leave this region of East Africa to head to West Africa for my French language stop in Benin, or perhaps Togo, we’ll see. It will be nice to have community, friends, some steady projects to work on and perhaps dresser drawers and a closet instead of black panniers and a backpack! Having my own place for a month or two will be nice too!

    Overall, this journey has been about one year in total, 3 months pre-production in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland and now 7 months in full production mode through another 9 countries. It’s been an unforgettable, amazing, fulfilling adventure but boy has it been tough! Africa is no cakewalk, but it’s SO SO worth it. I’ve grown more in this year than likely any year in my life physically (I’m SO MUCH stronger carrying 200+ pounds of gear), emotionally and spiritually. I would not exchange this experience for anything!