Monday, January 28, 2008

JIB Coming to America, Freewrite status

It's Monday morning And we just got back in the country last night. I almost don't know what to say you know? What to say?

We were slated to leave Wednesday evening (early morning stateside) but there were some issues with the ticket. A missing leg and also something about going through Addis Ababa.
So we ended up leaving on a 11:55 pm Air France flight out of Djibouti to Paris on Saturday.
Air France only operates a weekly flight back and forth to Djibouti. So we left on the same plane we came on. Made it to Charles de Gaul in Paris, had some more last minute seeming ticket trouble when trying to head to our scheduled flight to Amsterdam. But then it was alright, because we just switched our flight straight into Detroit that afternoon.
8 1/2 hour flight during the daytime you know? Different from night flights in that it's harder to spend all your time sleeping.

It's a little strange to be back honestly. My sisters headed to Memphis out of Detroit and I left on flight last night onto Hartford heading to school. Got in around 11 and hit campus around 12 something. So I'm freshly here and newly minted although all my clothes are dirty. Class started this past Wednesday and I was slated to be here on the 20th. So I literally stepped on campus wearing the same clothes I left Djibouti in Saturday. straight from the airport. Had to get here.
It's always strange coming back from a trip like this. All of the things you can possible relay, all of the things you could possible say. And sometimes you have to say them in stages. Sometimes it just won't do to say everything at one time.
We have quite a lot of footage, photographs, audio, etc. You come back with an experience in your mind that has affected you, not always in ways you immediately understand.

We spoke with university students in Djibouti one night in a white room. Filmed, photographed, spoke via several Haitian (all over the world eh?) translators that graciously showed up for us in our time of need. Imagine sitting in a room of young men, you don't speak the same language, and yet you are attempting to find something, you are really attempting to talk or get at some questions, and some answers and some feeling about
who you are or might be.
Who are you?
Who am I?
Who are we together, if anything? Do we have any part in each other? What are your thoughts about living, about yourself, about creation?
What if any connection do you feel with other people across the diaspora?
What do you think of black americans?
How do you feel about a couple of black females coming across the ocean to talk to you about your dreams?
And etc. Questions about Djibouti, the various ethnic groups in the region.. somali.. afar..
Seeing this in the faces.. a really beautiful people you know.. a really beautiful people.
what is this life of travel, but more than travel.. exchange, or a delving deep and out and far and wide, what is this life of searching for answers in the stories we tell about who we are, the stories we CREATE! about,
our lives, what we wish, what we wish to see.
It was a little surreal actually, to be there talking to them... like maybe I'm crazy, but I really think our various answers are within us,
on a personal level and a collective level,
answers to whatever questions we are seeking after
and I am seeking after specific questions.
Pretty much involved with our beauty,
and qualities of greatness you know, and shining forth and shining true.
and searing forth like fire, like a blaze, a shearing
And believing in that, and finding that shiny stone, and spreading out, pouring out
like water, who we are?
Is this myth, is this fantasy? I keep coming back to the same words.. i know.. i know..
but there's a feeling that I get and have to tell about..
it has no explanation although it has many.
But this thing about who we are.. I mean who we are and who we can be
being wrapped up together, being the touchstone.
And maybe that sounds silly for that to be thing one is searching for on a journey,
like it's not something you can touch. It's not a chest with an X that marks the spot,
It's not the holy grail or the lost ark of the covenant.
It is something that's in you or outside of you and takes a lot of forms,
like a phoenix or a mythological bird or animal that can be anything, many things,
a swiftly changing body,
a swiftly changing self.

You know this dance we are doing is anthropological.
This movement we are doing, this two-step, this cupid shuffle, this grand-jete
is trans-cultural, trans-national and personal and specific, it's country you know
and city, it's broken and whole, it's down-home, good-home, it travels across space, yet is specific.
and Everything informs. Everything informs something else.
Maybe I am dancing just to dance, or taking photos because or like it, or writing
because it makes me feel good or helps me out when i need to help myself, but these
tools are tools to intersect with the world as i know it on a critical level.
It's to touch the very stuff of life.. like gauze or cotton candy or just a rock on the earth.
to intersect to reach my hand into time, into the making of it. into the making of it now.
like now you are reading this and now we are talking, and now we are choosing what is to come tomorrow.. or yesterday, whatever your conception of time.
It's to fiddle with concepts of space and touch the various fabrics of worlds that
We just stepped out of Africa.
We just stepped out of Africa.
You know.
We just friggin stepped out of Africa
and into time.
And I was speaking on the phone last night to my aunts and my father on speakerphone at the house in Memphis..

and someone said, "It's a different world over there isn't it?"
And it is and it was. But I said, "It's a different world a part of the same world."
And it is and it was. How do we navigate that knowing and that knowledge. I mean really, how do we walk across the fabric of this world and live.. I mean as we like to joke around and say, "Can I live?!" .. with it's stitching across land and language ( and language, oh goodness what is language even?)
How do we make ourselves together and apart?
There are so many questions!
How do you do it?
We met some ambassadors you know.. and people in ministries in Djibouti and Ethiopia, and people in tourism, would have met the president, but we actually got in a day later than expected..
and frick!
oh frick Dubai ( I've got a word for you.. )
and just some people I wanna know.. rode in a bus with the coolest lady from Nigeria,
folks from Togo, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Egypt, America, Haiti, Congo..Burundi..
There's stuff to do in this world you know.
There's stuff to do in this world you know.
I've gotta do it.
Geez, let's just do it.

*Strangely I left my photo upload cord in Memphis ( I never do things like that. I don't know..)
so am not currently able to upload any pictures, or until I catch up with someone around campus.

*Also wasn't able to use the comp as frequently as I'd planned in Djibouti, but I'll be updating this week. And catching up with all the people who caught up with me, sending love, a word, or gifts! Thanks and love, peace and love! I mean you all really helped us out!

Intisar meaning Victory

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