Letters from the Heart of Africa

A few years ago I spent six months volunteering at the Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda. This serialised post is based on letters and emails sent home to friends during my time there, and from notes in my personal journal. Names of people have been changed, employer’s confidentiality preserved, but all of the facts are…

Peter and the soup confusion

Peter, my Rwandan housemate, is a man of many talents – he’s my gym training buddy, my security guard, a law student and a boxing champion for the Kigali Police First Team. I don’t really need a security guard, Kigali is the safest city I’ve ever lived in, but I enjoy his company especially at…

Photography: A London state of mind – images along the river.

London, like the flow of the Thames is unwavering. Resolute. Continual. London, the city of bridges, not walls. London, the world’s city that belongs to you, to me and everyone who shares the London state of mind. Unflinching in the face of cruelty. Still open. Still strong. Life, like the river, flows on. ***

Jodhpur: In the shadow of the clock tower

We’re in the desert in the middle of the dry season and we got a rainstorm. Someone knew the British were in town. It was one hell of a downpour, branches fell, swallows froze in mid-air – thunderbolt and lightning very, very … mildly disconcerting. This morning the dust is quelled, puddles remain on the…

Jaisalmer: camel rides, missing jeeps and other desert perils 

I should’ve known better when we booked a desert safari from a small tour operator in the narrow streets inside the fort walls of Jaisalmer. Jeep and camel hire in the same billboard as chowmein and tacos? I mean, really? I fell for the laminated photos: shiny happy people taped to the walls of the…

The Purple Shell

In response to today’s daily post word: “purple“. A purple shell caught my eye on a sandy beach yesterday. A lovely shade of purple, caught in a dimple in the sand, brought in on a line of bubbles from a warm wave. Such a lovely shade of purple, with fine white striations, whorls and ribs….

Goa: Sunsets, mopeds, bribing cops and other beach activities

I think I may have unwittingly bribed a cop. We’re on small country lane in Goa in search of a less crowded beach. This isn’t quite Alex Garland, Goa has thousands of beaches, each a big tourist pull. The sun beats down, we pick up speed and feel the cooling breeze passing verdant fields towards…

Hints of Holi 

Days after Holi, India’s festival of colours, the powdered dyes linger on in tiny cracks, on walls, on doors, paving stones and alcoves – even on cows and dogs. They are reminders of a happy day filled with colours and joy. In the desert town of Jaisalmer, the pavements and brickwork made from locally quarried…

Assam: Notes from a hot tin roof on the Brahmaputra 

Assam, in India’s north east, is known as the land of the red river and blue hill. The red river has coursed its way east from Lake Mansorovar in Tibet, to turn sharply on itself in a gorge to enter India – in Assam it changes its name from the Tsangpo to the Brahmaputra. In Assam,…

Seven Hours in Kolkata – Kerouacing a Megacity

 We have precisely seven hours in Kolkata before the taxi leaves for the airport. We’re spending the day traveling on a whim, what I have decided to term ‘to kerouac’ after the author of the Beatnik classic, On the Road.  We kerouac on to the metro, it’s easy to use, the tickets are small round…