Hitchhiking to Nowhere 

The border patrol officer skimmed my passport. “Where are you staying in Togo?” Pause. “I don’t actually know,” I said, my eyes avoiding his gaze. If only I had known then just how true the statement would be. I rested my chin on my sweaty fist. “You don't know?” His eyes were now directly in … Continue reading Hitchhiking to Nowhere 

Warm Beer and Grimy Chacos

I'm seated inside the Toamasina port drinking a lukewarm beer that cost less than $1, staring at striped fish in transparent waters beneath my feet. The quiet moment invites contemplation; thoughts swarm my mind, tugging about, and I continue to stare. My gaze focuses on my sandals--Chacos, to be exact. They're great, aren't they? If you're from … Continue reading Warm Beer and Grimy Chacos

Have Yourself A Merry Little Pity Party

Yesterday marked my first Christmas away from home, in a warm climate, and aboard a ship. Rough life, huh? In all sincerity, I wasn't particularly excited to celebrate this year. Since I arrived on the Africa Mercy five weeks ago I have battled a severe case of "scrambled egg brain." This self-diagnosis reflects the ever-changing emotions and tired, mushy state … Continue reading Have Yourself A Merry Little Pity Party

Don’t Envy Me

I left Grand Rapids in a whirlwind and didn't get a chance to tell loved ones my thoughts. Or perhaps I just hadn't yet articulated my goodbyes. Either way, during my 13 hour flight across the Atlantic I finally had time to process--shortly after the middle-aged Ethiopian passenger convinced me (quite easily) to ask the … Continue reading Don’t Envy Me

I Would Never Do That

"Alright, it's time!" No. I close my eyes, pretending to sleep. "Come on, Kayla, you have to come." My co-worker, Kim, bounces eagerly, her shoes spitting sand on my face. She knows I'm awake. I sit up, arms crossed with tension. "If you pressure me then I definitely won't go. I have to decide on my own terms." … Continue reading I Would Never Do That

From Michigan to Madagascar

“That sounds so cool. You should totally do it,” I affirmed, cupping my steamy, tea-filled mug. Kelsey, my dear friend and college comrade, smiled. “You should think about doing it with me.” I inhaled earl grey steam and pondered. “Mercy Ships? Nah. I'll do my own thing.” I withheld my genuine reason for declining. Truthfully, … Continue reading From Michigan to Madagascar