Women, Patriarchy and Peace

If we believe what the current patriarchal cultural construct tells us: A woman has no autonomy or agency. A woman is deemed as proper and virtuous is she is covered from head to toe, keeps a ‘neat’ appearance, doesn’t curse, denounces her sexuality, doesn’t speak loudly or command attention, isn’t ‘bossy’ or demanding, doesn’t have an opinion that may be ‘offensive.’ Conversely you have what I call the Pussycat Doll phenomena – the other side of the spectrum – where women claim “girl power” by taking off all their clothes and shaking their t–s and a-s, quite literally, in deliberately…

Broken Boots and Bush Squatting

 Journal Entry Excerpts September 18, 2016 It’s lunch break. The food is delicious. I’m a Yogini; a devotee and the ten living principles (Yamas and Niyamas) – one of which is ‘ahimsa’ which means non-violence – form the foundation of who I am. As such I don’t eat other animals. I’m genuinely grateful of the efforts of our cook, a shy quiet man that loves his beautiful white mule, Katherina, dearly.  The Moroccan culture is meat-centric, for the most part, so I appreciate the adaptations made just for me. My shoe snapped up the last stretch of rocky terrain and…

82 Days

Yesterday I began a journey that I don’t fully understand but know that I need to do.  The trip saw a few different directions in the planning stage. First, I was going to simply go back to east Africa and retrace some steps.  Then it was three months in Europe: food and art in Italy, France and Spain.  But one cannot be in those countries without recognizing the migrant crisis and the deplorable conditions that millions are currently living in.  So I looked into volunteering and meeting people doing their best to help the migrants.  Surprisingly that ended up going…

Before the Trip

Journal Entry August 31, 2016 Once Upon a Time there was an old woman that wanted to travel. She wasn’t really that old but she certainly felt like it; ancient to the core. It was a month away from her 37th birthday. She was still single (and realized that only mattered because of cultural expectations). In fact she hadn’t had a relationship – a real relationship – in 7 years and 5 months. Most would argue that’s probably very unhealthy, unless of course she was living a life as a nun. Unfortunately she hadn’t gone on a path of Devotion…

The Art of Paper Beads

Gulu, Uganda Artisans gather to show me how to make paper beads. Paper bead making is an indigenous craft in the region. Recycled paper. Rolled strips. Beauty results.