In Which She Hears Music by Samantha Snively

Perhaps it was unwise
to begin in the car.
60 mph on a two lane road
is not the time to have
an awakening of senses.

The strings crept up on us,
lurked down the cobblestones as we left town.
It may have been the volume-
with all the windows open
and a storm furrowing above,
the “1812 Overture” touches
more than words.

At first, she smiled at
the plaintive initial quartet,
but with the timpani and
violent jerk of the strings it was as if
a cattle prod had struck her soul.
Eyes wide, eyebrows ascending to heaven,
Breath gone to the blare of brass
Jumping motionless in her seat.

Helen Keller in the garden
may have felt the same,
but the water never crept in her ears
and down to curl about her stomach,
caress her sides as the notes
throbbed to us.

She turned the volume up
and hit the gas, shifting into fifth gear
as Tchaikovsky grew frantic
and we went whipping down the road.

Our marvelous
life flashed before our eyes,
the road disappeared,
(much to the consternation
of other drivers)
the music demanded nothing
but one


Cantares… by Antonio Machado

All goes, and all remains,
but our task is to go,
to go creating roads
roads through the sea.

My songs never chased
after glory to remain
in human memory.
I love the subtle worlds
weightless and charming,
worlds like soap-bubbles. 

I like to see them, daubed
with sunlight and scarlet,
quiver, under a blue sky, 
suddenly and burst…

I never chased glory.

Traveller, the road is only
your footprint, and no more;
traveller, there’s no road,
the road is your travelling.

Going becomes the road
and if you look back
you will see a path 
none can tread again.

Traveller, every track
leaves its wake on the sea…
Once in this place
where bushes now have thorns
the sound of a poet’s cry was heard
‘Traveller there’s no road
the road is your travelling…’

Step by step, line by line…

The poet died far from home.
Shrouded by dust of a neighbouring land.
At his parting they heard him cry:
‘Traveller there’s no road
the road is your travelling…’

Step by step, line by line…

When the goldfinch can’t sing,
when the poet’s a wanderer,
when nothing aids our prayer.
‘Traveller there’s no road
the road is your travelling…’

Step by step, line by line.


Compare and Contrast

If you were to hold out a dime, 
a ten-cent piece, at arm’s length, 
the coin would block out 
15 million stars from your view,
 if your eyes could see with that power.

- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel


Dear friends, I am switching over.....blame the times:)


"I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into it's expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst it's perils."
-Charlotte Bronte


-i believe i slept enough for two last night. woke up CHIPPER at 6:45 am and so strapped on my reds and hit the streets of paris. intro anastasia theme song....the one aout paris that is. i was jogging aimlessly around blocks until i glimpsed the tip of the eiffel tower. challenge accepted. this reminded me rather strongly of when rusty and i had become lost in what is now an unknown high-walled city in france, all we had was the church steeple to guide us through the labrynth of the streets, full pace, rounding corners unto flocks of agitated pigeons and amused street musicians, it had felt cinematic then; it felt cinematic now, only this time the theme music was exegetic.(thank you dr. pittman for that wonderful tidbit of vocabulary!)

-anyways, back to me weaving through the haphazaradly arranged streets of paris at 7am. i am sure bus tours and boat tours and hot-air-balloon-tours are all well and good, but there is nothing which in my opinion truly equates street/pedestrian level view. on par with the people, the thrillingly posh dialectic of sweating and bestowing lilting 'bonjour!'s to passerbyers. one gets a feel for the city condition, sees individual faces, makes eye contact, smells the corner urine stench, runs fingers across elaborately carved surfaces, and laughs at childishly profane graffiti. bicyclists come close and runners are second best, but it is truly the walkers who get the most from a city.

-passerbyers. the men in bright green vests collecting trash,women in horizontally nautical striped shirts taking their pug dogs out for the 'morning business', one korean man in a business suit and wearing glasses..., a few clean shaven frenchmen in the modern warrior apparal of deceptively casual business suits, a few students in leather jackets and rolled up jeans, the hotel front desk person.

-it was quite a moment, rounding the corner which brought the eiffel tower into full view, crossing the street still consumed by the sight above, then striding over the well kept grass of the park in front of the tower to meet witht the main path and running full tilt, unaware of my body, into its shadow. i stood underneath then, and walked to the very center of the underside and looked up; craning my neck and bending my back. the invisible limbo of sight-seeing. it was just myself and the aforementioned suited korean man with glasses standing in the large square under the iconic structure. just me and him. him and i. were he in a group of his counterparts many 'oooooooh's, and wide eyed exclamatories would have been exchanged. in his isolated condition however, the only accurate descriptory for his face would be stoic. he and i,sboth leaning back, bending our knees and craning our necks under the belly of the eiffel tower. during this time, the leaning back and infrequent glances at eachother with nods i was overcome by a desire to be on level with the man to my right, so i reigned in my joy and allowed my face no outward signs of being impressed or at all happy. indeed i believe i acheved the mildly-interested-because-i-have-nothing-better-to-do-this-morning-yet-slightly-critical-of-the-architecture-and-cleaning-service facial expression which he wore.

-i let the laugh out on the run home as i passed, well, i stopped counting because it was getting tiresome; an incredibly large number of winebottles nestled in bushes on the side of the path during the run back through the park.
-unto the rest of paris. it is wonderful when i stumble upon streets and sights which i visited 3 years ago with my highschool french class, enriched memories as they layer on top of eachother. the highschool mindset is positively flooding back.

-sitting by a window i just saw a petite frenchman running for all he is worth, bright backpack bouncing up and down as he races after the schoolbus. strange how it is the normal moments, small tidbits of life which really stick in the mind more than the monuments.

-the day was positively a blur. so many moments.all wonderful, so looking back its a bit like looking into kelidoscope with all the small memories shifting about to create an overall confusing and joyful image.

-luxemburg gardens. the place makes me want to pick up tennis. glorious consortment of refined, primped, and meticulously hedged greenery. orange trees. piles of what james would call 'crocodile people' smoking and reading or smoking and talking. about a fifty fifty split.

-later in the evening we found ourselves in front of the notre dame cathedral after emerging from the quartier de latin; a bustling little maze of sidestreets full of life, restaurants, and accents. emphasis on the restaurants. every sort of ethnic variety, even combinations nonexistant. lebanise was one of our personal adventures, which included a pastry desert seeped in rose water.

-approaching what was not near the not notradame cathadral we discovered a song service was underway and thus entered. the sound filled the interior and sort of wrapped you up in it. all lights were cut excepting that projecting from the saints' candles. may is devoted to marie. so much history and grandeur. huge stone pillars. large overhung paintings. intricate carvings. street lights coming through the stained glass. leaning against my dads chest i could feel his heartbeat and it pounded against my eardrum. it all culminated into a moment of real beauty. c'est la vie.

-street rollerbladers. 'this is what you do if youre not good at math.' -mom.


-at present, my father is playing guitar in a smokeless room with a small fire...in the fireplace. do allow me to expand. last night we had burnt lentils. it was an event highly charged with frivolity and thrillingly negative descriptors. our family's recent inability to master our gas lit oven has been a source of much humor. tonight, as a special treat (conducted in a riiiidiculously  ridiculous french accent) we ate something non-cajun. 'vwhat eh pleeasahnt serpreeese!' then about halfway through our uncharred meal my mom got up, in a domestic passion, to turn on the oven for cookies. BOOM. it sort of exploded, everyone was ok, and as often happens after a scare there was some nervous twitterings. then  a little bit later my father put his mind to the task. conclusion; he placed a lit candle on the middle rack, closed the oven door, and turning the gas up a notch, evacuated the kitchen. so at this point, from our seats at the table, seeing him crouching behind the doorway in the main room mom and i got up and found similarily (secure?) locations. i kept alternating between the bathroom and bedroom, my mom went straight to the main exit, our front door. about to pee my pants (or more accurately my skirt because outback kenya does not smile upon leg shape or knee) from a the somewhat painfully explosive mirth forcing itself out of my abdomen, i decided to run out and join her position of wheezing laughter (see mary poppins for example, fans, you know the scene) behind the treehouse tree in front of the apartment complex. we could see dad through the window in crouching position. we tried to shout warnings and advice and admonishment, but unfortunately were laughing much too hard and stumbling over eachother in our doubled over positions, in the dark, to really be helpful. tick. tick. tick. BOOM. i believe at this moment mom is trying to cook these holy grail cookies in a pan.

-in a reflection of the day, hospital side the highlights included a knife wound to the neck (more dramatic in title than in reality, although the wound was in tiger country) and a colostomy which underwent a game plan to analplasty. incredible. absolutely incredible. still getting over it. medecine is incredible, but surgery most especially has such vitality.

-the analplasty was performed on a three day old little boy. the delicacy of an infant, its frilty, has never been so apparant to me as when one is resting on  surgery table. it is beyond incredible that in our human hands resides the knowledge, tools, and technique to go inside these little bodies; hurting to heal.

-humorous note; while walking by the a surgery theatre with an ortho case going i heard a song playing, some brassy piano with the lyrics 'You'll never die! You'll never die! You'll live forever!' (motivational? not so subtle sublimal messaging for the unconscience paient?) -just looked up the song, it is Soften Your Heart by Keith Green.

-the kid commune of this mission community is a thriving metropolis. while sitting outside i witnessed a near collision of a two year old pushing one of those orange and yellow kid plastic cars at full speed towards an unaware one year old in a stroller entangled with some other plastic toy. myself and two others ran towards the impending crash in what felt like cinematicly slow motion agony, however abbey, all smiles turned off the path at the last moment. breathless, panting-laughing, we adult figures just looked at eachother and had a hearty laugh. there was an especially charming one little guy named shadrack who came by on multiple occasions during lunch. rather cat-like he always managed to get onto my lap. we 'read' together, or tried too, he was a bit too liberal with the page turning.

-last night here in Tenweck. i decided to cut the afternoon a bit early and took on of my BAF (best authors forever) Alcott down to the falls with a small picnic of ginger juice and almonds. I read the last eight chapters of Little Women on the hillside, with charming interludes of inquisitive children saying all in one breath 'how-are-you-fne!' to me as a greeting as they headed towards the bridge on their way from school. being white in this non-tourist portion of kenya places one at a celebraty status level with children. they are either disabled by laughter, in awe, desperately curious to touch my hair, or horrified. thankfully the last is only with a few infants i had to weigh.


-as i write this, my father is playing guitar and singing in french. the livingroom/dining room of our little abode is lit by 6 candles and one teensy lamp light. the ambiance is enhanced by the night noises outside of bugs. i am full, content, clean, and dry. a combination hard to come by in a land blessed with excessive dirt and excessive rain.

-played ultimate frisbee. it was awesome, funny to see a highly skilled surgeon butterfinger a catch, i just assumed dexterous fingers would hold the same finess for everything:) apparently not. another life truth emerged during this exhausting/fun endeavor under the kenyan sun and over 6,000 altitude(ould like to note that i have it from a good source, aka todd, that this place is higher than denver colorado, which is where olympic athletes train); the taller you are, the less graceful any sort of lowering of ones body in attempt to catch, well lets hypothetically say a flying frisbee, will be. everytime the over six footers dove, well, it always ended somewhat abruptly and with skids. i was reminded in this frollicking about on the grass with people how much i love team sports. running is all good and well, but nothing beats the overdramaticised comradary that stems from common goals. that do or die attitude which can only emerge covered in sweat. i like it.

-after the feild of glory episode we crossed the bridge with walking sticks and study sandals and began our traverse into the country side. red dirt. green tea plants. i dont think i quite put enough significance on that last detail. i am beside myself, i ran into the middle of a tea feild and attempted to embrace the sky in gratitude of its mere existence. i happen to really love not only the taste of tea, but the warmth spreading experience of drinking it, annnnnddd the concept of tea in general (the picking, drying, brewing) and to hold, smell, and run through its genesis was....well, on par with the Bon Iver concert. (this is saying alot)

-walking along the path the cultural hospitality, openness, and freindliness is fully exposed. everyone, and i do mean everyone, upon seeing you wants to shake hands, invite you in for chai, and show you their children. speaking of children, the camera truly is the universal icebreaker. the scenario always happened as follows; two nice little ones on the path, after shaking your hand or exchanging the national greeting "uh-moon-su' would look curiously or significantly (depending upon experience) at the camera in your hand. snap the picture in which they stood somewhat awkwardly, show them the picture and IMMEDIATELY they would COLLAPSE into giggles, and being a joyspotter with a desire to capture such a moment on film i would take another; then upon seeing the result of this picture the hilarity would augment, and of course get louder, which drew all children in proximity. essentially every candid moment would end in a small delighted mob.

-on the walk back it sprinkled, splattered, dropped, and then poured with vengeance, this however only enhanced the overall experience. to quote Les Mis; A little fall of rain, can hardly hurt me now, and rain will make the flowers grow. welcome to the rainy season, which, apparantly this close to Bomet, lasts all year.
-learned how to make real dahl, a skill passed from my father to myself. a family legacy that began not with my great great great danish grandmother (random nationality, i dont even know, she was more likely british) but with two indian men that my father taught how to drive while in medical school. this memory was brought to mind because today, out on the red road we met a man whose name was phenetocally 'do-ih-it', the same as the indian who both crashed my father's car and taught him to make dahl. even trade. it was delicious.


-My bag arrived last night! Hallelujah! Clean clothes!

-Went for a run this morning down to the waterfalls. it felt much more like a cross training event the road is so pithed with potholes and puddles, but that fast pace quick feet avoid obstacle style jog is so incredibly satisfying, so invigorating, it makes one feel incredibly hard core. Simalar to those over-charged car commercials or juice ads where the person climbs mount everest for a capri sun. My companions at 6:19 am included two donkeys (for whom i had to cross to the other side, so ambivalent were they to my intimidating hurtling form) two woman making their way to the well(as i assumed from the buckets balanced expertly upon brightly swathed heads), one mooing cow (inside a fence thankfully) who scared me half to death(so sudden was its moo), one school child, and the gyspy kings (go shuffle).

-on the walk back from the clinic my path was crossed by the charge of a tibe of little blond and black half naked bodies as the gang of MKs (mission kids) charged their way towards....well, who on earth knows but it must have been something exciting. One of the moms, standing on the stairwell patting a two month old bundle and looking on commented that "Yes, this is a child commune." It looks like a lovely childhood. The sounds of screams, squeels, laughter, and crying mingles nicely with the ever constant tropic bug buzz. At precisely 1:30 every day add to that caucophony the rolls of approaching thunder. It is the rainy season here.

-strangely, within the incredibly limited collection of kitchen appliences and utensils....i found one of those special contraptions to make a bunt cake. There arent any mixing bowls, no full set of dishware, and i cannot find a normal baking square glass or whatever those things are called, but, if the time comes in which a bunt cake is called for....we can produce:)

-I AM HOLDING A REAL LIFE LEGTIMATE  TEA LEAF AWKWARDLY IN MY LEFT HAND AS I TYPE THIS. tea farm. tea plant. saw it. pickers are paid 5 shillings for 1 kilo. bought 1 kilo for 10 shillings.

-Oh yes, and i am being absolutely blessed by Francis Chan's 'Crazy Love', Elena's beloved copy of 'Pilgrim's Progress', all the nice little books of the bible that i have never given much time to before, a funny collection of shorts by Jerry Seinfeld, and am pounding away (well pounding may really be a bit too aggressive of a verb) at OChem....another funnel for the non-clinical hours is our family unit's new hobby; Monopoly Deal....it gets sharky. We play with candles, mango juice, and the repeated interuption (and by interuption i mean my mother stands, waves, shouts, and makes a generally dangerous display of bodily movement) by moths.

-Made lentils today. ...hmmmmm, how unecessary to document. They were delicious. Felt very proud actually.


in africa.

witnessed my first birth.

beyond words.


-Woke up in Nairobi (there's a first!) to the sound of a rooster crowing (there's another first!)

-Swang...no, hahaha, I swung... why do neither of these seem correct, they both are twanging in my head...anyways i sat on a moving seat beneath this HUGE GLORIOUS b. tree and tried to read Pilgrims Progress, however i like swinging far too much too make any real progress....*sigh* This charming dilemna continued until breakfast, after which we (myself, the rents, and Sarah) bundled ourselves into the van/military looking tan vehicle and began our journey to Tenweck.

-Apparantly it was a four hour drive; through Nairobi, over some pass, through the Great Rift Valley, and then out into the more mountaineous region in whose leafy arms is cradled the much anticipated Tenwek Hospital.

-Pause in the Rift Valley. Let me preface the upcoming description that this drive was not advertised as a safari....but, to our incredible delight, along the side of this parched road we saw; giraffes, zebras, massai herdsmen in their iconic garb/pose, and frollicking groups of gazelle. It was truly magical....needless to say, that four hour drive went by rather quickly.


-From Chicago to Amsterdam. Wasnt in the least bit sleepy so on this 8 hour flight i watched 'The King's Speach', 'Despicable Me', and a few shallow chick flicks which i tired of and fastfowarded to the end for emotional closure.

-Stop. Four hour layover, best inconvienance any airline has ever subjected me to. I absolutely love this airport. There was a library in it, a rather modern/inticat set up of couches, reclining chairs, interactive displays, and in general colorful furniture. It is a sleek setting in general. I have never before witnessed such an intentionally pleasant area of waiting. There was a recessed maze of nusing rooms dimly lit and hung with dark sheer fabrics, a childrens area with bright carpeting and construct playground, a music lounge, a meditation room, the aforementioned library juttison shelves in which each level was dedicated to a different language, and a number of techy countertops. I also feel obligated to mention that while there, for breakfast, i had freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh carrot/some other orangy delight juice, and small danish pancakes. If I werent so excited to go to kenya i might have prolonged this stay.

-Amsterdam to Nairobi. Landed in Africa! Unfortunately my bags did not.

-Was picked up (bag-less) along with a 3-rd yr resident who was also going to Tenweck, inspiring to meet someone further along the road:), and was taken to a menonite guest house. Absolutely, breathtakingly, incredibly, almost awkwardly beautiful. the full trees. the flowers. the buzzing delicious air. its all here. its the outskirts of nairobi at the dead of night. We are experiencing sensory overload yet cannot wait for more! craving the light of day.




We didn't go to easter service; we were easter service.

Passion Play Andrews University
Photo's by Carrie Mesiar


Books make friends. 
....and no, Jordan I am NOT calling you an elephant.