Tea in the rain.

The first day of my retreat in the desert at White Canyon, Utah, with Mike Fones, O.P. It rained for hours. Hours, and buckets-full. What do you do in the desert in the rain? You can’t walk, the ground turns to sticky clay. We sat and watched the beauty of it. For hours. Perfect for a retreat.

Africa begins to work her spell on me. The people, the land, the sun, the LIFE. Above is a view of Maasailand from just the other side of the hills here in Karen. I have been told that Nairobi is not really Africa, but that Africa begins where it leaves off. These photos are Africa.

One of the biggest tragedies here in Nairobi is the huge number of children living on the streets, with no homes, families, food or schools. There are estimated to be between twenty to forty thousand children living this way in Nairobi, some orphaned by the spread of AIDS, others by grinding poverty tearing apart families, and some running away from abusive homes.

Typical of the economy and situation here, this woman sits all day every day on this same corner, roasting corn on a little charcoal grill to sell for a few shillings to buy other food for her family. The sun is hot, the road is dusty, the people she sells to are few and far between, but at least it is something. Unemployment and poverty are the norm in this part of town, so people do whatever they can to get by as best they can. The corn is not sweet corn, it is maize, feed corn. It is very filling and tastes good when cooked on a grill.

As good as any farmers' market I have seen, anywhere in the world is the Indian Market in Nairobi. Fresh vegetables and fruits from all over the region are brought here to be sold every day. The default background are carrots from the market, but if you prefer, you could change it to red peppers or beans or none at all.

Our fish pond, reflective of society here in Kenya. So many layers. When I saw it I could not help thinking of M.C. Escher's Three Worlds. There are at least that many here.

"On the feet of the Ngong Hills I had a farm...", the first line from Karen Blixen's Out Of Africa. I am here in Karen, Kenya, named after her, here at the foot of those hills. Her farm is gone, it is now estates for rich people and squatters' villages for the poor. One can see in the photo squatter's huts and paths to get them amidst the trees.

A young adult, singing to herself and God in a field of wildflowers. There were a thousand young adults here this week, from all over Europe and the world. Next week, for Holy Week there will be 6000, most between 18 and 25 years old.

Sunday Afternoon in the countryside in France. Françoise and Daniel are dear friends of one of my friends, Jean-Jacques Pérennès OP. They live in Lyon, France where Françiose teaches high school physics and chemistry. Daniel teaches contemporary history of the Arabic world in Paris at the Sorbonne, so has a one room flat there. But on the weekends they escape to their once abandoned 19th century farmhouse in Courzieu near Lyon. They invited us over for a leisurely Sunday dinner, classically French, with different wines before, during and after dinner and food that is simply indescribable, served in the kitchen next to the wood stove and fireplace. Afterwards, we took a stroll around the country side to see how spring was creeping up the valley, coming first to the cherry trees and the wildflowers but not yet to the pines and oak.

Today I visited a beautiful, old church in Tournus, France. The church was built in the Roman style in the 11th and 12 centuries. There are many similar churches in the area, but none comparable. It has two towers, one of pink stone, one of gray.