The problem with giving

The problem with giving

Sometimes the greatest unintended harm comes out of acts of well-meant kindness — Ezekiel, Anton and Vincent were crouched in the mid-morning sunlight of the meadow facing the church of Kajulu, the Kenyan village where I lived through most of November.  To the...
Jurassic Bath

Jurassic Bath

Against all odds, I have my first bath in Kajulu — in pitch blackness I can’t remember the last time I wrote by candle light. On the cement sill behind me are a lantern and two candles. I am sitting angled so that my wrist doesn’t throw its shadow over my words....
Mama Salome and the poorest of the poor

Mama Salome and the poorest of the poor

I’m supposed to spend 21 days in Kajulu, living in poverty — but it isn’t even on the map That morning, Mama Salome Rading had gone to the clinic near Holo to get the injection that would quell the pain in her right hip and left arm. Well, at least for the...
Where on earth is Kajulu, Kenya?

Where on earth is Kajulu, Kenya?

I’m supposed to spend 21 days in Kajulu, living in poverty — but it isn’t even on the map I googled Kajulu a few minutes ago, and it isn’t on the map. The village where I plan to spend the next 30 days living in poverty in a hut, without water or...
Lessons from being dressed as an Arab in Bombay

Lessons from being dressed as an Arab in Bombay

I entered the men’s room of Bombay’s airport Hotel in pajamas and a blue kurta at 11.32 a.m. on Friday, August 18, and let myself into a lavatory cubicle slightly larger than a telephone booth. The year was 1978; the word terrorism had not been invented. A...
In the shoes of the shoeshine

In the shoes of the shoeshine

It was a bright hot May morning in New Delhi when a lanky, curly-haired fellow of 20 years reached the grassy patch near the office of the British Overseas Airways Corporation in Connaught Place. On his hip he balanced a rather large and unwieldy shoeshine box,...

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