Monday, May 9, 2011

The great peanut butter exchange!

Last week here at the thriving Gros Bouquet guest house we had a world traveling comic book artist/teacher/writer extraordinaire stay with us for a few nights. Her name is Marie Javins and she is traversing Africa overland for the second time in her life. She wrote a book entitled "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik, One Woman's Solo Misadventure Across Africa" about her first trip across Africa in 2001. Ten years later she is doing it again only backwards this time (she is going in the opposite direction not walking backwards). You can follow her on

I was able to hang out with her and hear about her journeys first hand. I then ordered her book on my kindle and was able to talk with her as I read the book. On the morning we woke up and heard of Bin Laden's death we talked about how ten years ago she was in Africa when 9/11 happened. The irony of the time and place and being so far from home when such terrible things occur. On her last evening she was making plans to cross the Congos and I commiserated with her over the difficult part she had ahead. She mentioned not having many food options as she rode along pitted sweltering roadways on public transport. I offered her some peanut butter and she lit up with just the thought of it. She then backtracked and said she would hate to have me part with my precious supply of Jiff. I insisted and said it would be an exchange since she had already gifted me a book she had just finished entitled, "Blood River, A journey to Africa's Broken Heart" by Tim Butcher. These are the best kind of swaps!

Books are hard to come by around these parts, especially ones in English! I have my kindle but oh how I love the feel of a real book. The stiff spine holding together pages of soft feathered edges filled with words and space. I like the bent pages and the roughed up edges. It's a book that's been lived in. When I part the pages I think of Marie traveling solo with just a backpack and courage to carry her through. I think of the various places she placed the book down to gaze out at new environs. I also happen to love the book. It is brilliantly written and I highly recommend it. There is just something about a man who followed with passion and purpose on what many called a suicide mission. "A vivid account of an audacious quest." reported the Irish Times.

Tim Butcher is a Daily Telegraph correspondent sent to Africa in 2000. The book is of his travels in 2004 retracing H.M. Stanley's famous expedition during the Victorian era to map the mighty Congo river of central Africa between 1874 and 1877. I love the descriptive way he writes of bone jarring moto riding "bumping over exposed tree roots and rivulets scoured into the roadway by rain." The word pictures and alliteration! My heart flutters with the well placed words and phrases!

**This blog brought to you by Jiff, the #1 choice for choosy moms!**


abigail said...

thank you, Jiff! and Marie! and Alace! it is good to hear your heart, and experience a little bit of your life, if only through a computer screen. thank you for writing.

Alace said...

Hey Abbey! I miss you and hope all is going well with you! Write to me about your life sometime!