Friday, May 25, 2012

A Place of Reflection

A few years ago, I was traveling with some coworkers along a rural road in the DRC. Suddenly, our car blew a tire. This event in itself was not extraordinary—car tires don’t last long on the rough roads in this area. But a year later I happened to be traveling along the same road, and our tire blew out in the exact same spot!

Luckily, I had my camera with me this time and snapped the picture you see at the top of this page. I took this picture spontaneously, but I can now see how it fits into a bigger story. To me, this photograph represents a place of unexpected reflection. Twice, I have been halted in this place—forced to pause and reflect on the road behind me and the path ahead.

In many ways, the process of writing my memoir has been a similar experience. Unexpectedly, I have felt compelled to begin writing about my life—both in the DRC and the US. Recording my memories and reflecting on these stories has forced me to pause and look back on my journey. As if through the lens of a camera, I see my experiences in a new light and with a new focus. Just as I look behind me on the road, I also turn and look ahead, peering into the distance to see where the path leads.

My hope is that once this process is complete and the journey has been resumed, this memoir can serve as a snapshot—not just of my own life, but also of the many people I have met along the way.

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