[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he cardinal rule of traveling in Benin is: never be in a hurry. Surrender to the journey and try to enjoy it as much as possible because fretting about how long you’ve been sitting on top of the parking brake with sweat soaking through your t-shirt and your entire right leg completely asleep just …

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[dropcap size=small]O[/dropcap]n my way to Takon from Cotonou last week a woman entered our taxi with two small children (1 and 3 years old perhaps) near Abomey-Calavi and headed toward a town called Seku. I was the only other person in the backseat and so when she was helping her older daughter into the car …

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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] faint “ko ko ko” roused me from my slumber at 3:45 a.m. one October morning, not yet one month after I had arrived at my post. I turned over in bed, and defiantly held my eyelids closed. It was not uncommon for patients to come to our doors in the middle of the night …

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Laurel Mountain is a woman. She is beautiful and broad, expansive in spirit and warm at heart. She is transparent at times, and elusive at others. It was warm when I awoke at her base on Monday. I didn’t feel scared or jittery like I do some mornings before climbing, instead I felt welcomed. I …

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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] few weeks ago I got sick to my stomach. It started with a baguette at lunch, one side spread with tiny meat chunks, the gaps in meat chunks filled in with grease, and the other side spread with fish scales. In the home for otherwise homeless mothers (one project of the Catholic aid organization …

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My answer to the question, “Where are you from?” depends on my mood. If I want to keep it simple, I just say, “A small town in Georgia, near Atlanta, in the Southern part of the US.” Sometimes I just don’t want to engage. If the person seems interesting and I’m feeling talkative, I might …

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[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ately I have been dreaming of rain. In these dry months, that nevertheless somehow manage to feel humid, my eyes blur as I stare into the interminable haze and my thoughts wander to a day when I was stranded in the middle of a deluge. I work with a man named Damien, the activities coordinator …

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10 Things You Should Know When You Go Camping with Your Boyfriend’s Entire Family for a Whole Week 1. You must first remember that camping is not a right, it is a privilege. Your boyfriend’s parents have been camping at this same campground every summer for 40 years, and your boyfriend and his sister have …

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So, what does Novosibirsk, Russia, look like? Novosibirsk is not a pretty city. In fact, it’s ugly. Picture factories and Soviet apartment complexes, both poorly kept and marred by graffiti. The graffiti, often says “Nactia (or Tanya, or Masha, or Dasha) forgive me! I love you!” But despite the sentiments, it still doesn’t look good. …

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[dropcap]D[/dropcap]espite heroic sleep deprivation and a very loose game plan, I was ready. I had just submitted what felt like my life’s work condensed into six months researching beauty pageants in Cape Town and successfully hopped on a plane to Durban International Airport. I had my well-worn copy of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, …

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was a hot day in Pune, India. It was March; it hadn’t rained in five months. Beneath my bare feet the earth was brown and cracked, and the grass on the campground was yellow, rough like straw. But I was soaking wet, my grown-out pixie cut that was fast becoming a mullet plastered stickily …

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What is daily life like in a Catholic orphanage, home for abused mothers, and central operating office in a large Siberian city? Well, I’ll tell you. I wake up at 6:40 every day, and the first thing I do is reach over to the bedside table, grab a chocolate bar, and start eating. Chocolate is …

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