Fieldset
departure.

i am back in khartoum. how? i just finished

waiting for the plane in agok, then the storm, then the middle of the

night flight, then kenya, then back, and it seems like a minute, and

soon i will be back tucking the mosquito net under my flat foam

i am back in khartoum. how? i just finished

waiting for the plane in agok, then the storm, then the middle of the

night flight, then kenya, then back, and it seems like a minute, and

soon i will be back tucking the mosquito net under my flat foam

mattress, handset crackling beside me. time. it can't be trusted.

my first impression of kenya, when i arrived, was how rich the

people were, at least in the rural areas i passed through. if one

disembarked here directly from toronto, his first thought would be the

opposite: how abjectly poor. a long stopover in abyei changes one's

eyes. a verdant green compared to abyei's graying brown. the markets

had fruit in them. people had shirts and nearly all of them had shoes.

crowds of children in brightly coloured uniforms swarmed schoolyards.

infants looked fat, miles away from the fence that so many in abyei are

sitting on, swaying on. i saw mothers holding their child's hands as

they crossed the road; in abyei, children move alone, their parents far

too occupied with finding food or shelter to provide such attention. i

passed businesses. one made pallets, another sold wrecked cars. in

abyei, for most of the people, there is nothing. they live hand to

mouth in a hard landscape that bears little fruit, they struggle from

season to season, from war to peace. and, when they are sick, they go

to the hospital.

that is where i will be soon.

i spent six days doing very little, mostly thinking about things

other than sudan. i read, rested. one of the books i read was one by

ryszard kapucinski; one of poland's greatest writers and one of the

world's best african correspondents. in part of it, he describes

arriving to a town in ethiopia that is suffering from a severe drought.

people lie on the side of the road, their eyes half open, starving.

with that simple sentence, he made the last four months of abyei rush

back. it was the half open eyes of the starving. half open. half

closed. mostly closed. closed.

i sat there, holding the book, and realized that no matter how much

i try, i will never go back to being the person i exactly was before i

left. i can try not to think about it most of the time, and most of the

time, i will succeed. the memories will fade from video to short sepia

snapshots, but from nowhere, a simple sentence will throw all the

hardness forward and with it, that helpless, sleepless, lonely drowning

ache.

i started having dreams again this past week. some of them were

about abyei, and those that were are too difficult to transcribe; full

of war and sickness. but others too. one was entirely about muesli. row

upon row of it. it gave me hope. both for muesli, and for dreams.

i will send word from abyei. i think the airstrip in agok is washed

out, and i will have to be picked up in kadugli, a day away from abyei.

i am looking forward to the drive, to the movement.