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essays | places


same old beautiful story



Great Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe · 2017   iron age stone



   Sly is a good guy. Sure, the car he’d rented out to those road-tripping Peace Corps volunteers that had adopted me was ill-equipped, caught on fire and had us stranded in the desert twice, but he also drove 3000 km to pick us up. That’s when I met him and that’s when he invited me to his wedding in Zim three months later and that’s when I offered to shoot it for free (with the reservation that I’d never shot a wedding). He lost two more cars that week – one to a cow and one to a nap on the wheel, sleepy from those thousands of miles – but he didn’t lose his friendly grin.

Three months later I was headed towards the wedding via Zambia, where Sly and his soon-to-be-wife Alyssa had put me up with a friend for two weeks. Our convoy set out for Chimanimani – a little, green destination that looked as melodic as it sounded – the day before the wedding to pick up supplies and a whole lot of relatives along the way, including some of Alyssa’s family and friends from the US. I remember that ATMs didn’t work in Zimbabwe at the time, an economic crisis in full swing.

They winged the wedding with a mix of rituals, handpicked across cultures, and it was beautiful because everybody there was beautiful and certainly the waterfall didn’t hurt. The next day, another waterfall. Then Great Zimbabwe, where a grand civilization had perished one and a half eons ago for us to admire it.


a glimpse

passages   LONG STORY SHORT | It’s hard to tell where a non-fictional plot starts and ends, but I want to say that this one started with a perplexed elephant in Botswana, continued with a burning car in the Namib desert, and ended with a waterfall wedding in Zimbabwe, and everything that happened before and after was a different story.


It was a fine bridge, but it didn't have a name. Well, none that I knew of.

Along the Road / Zimbabwe · 2017   wired sky

Bridge crossing river in Zimbabwe
Wall and rocks at Great Zimbabwe

One wall was Nature's and one was Man's.

Great Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe · 2017   walls






places / stories

Chimanimani / Waterfall Wedding and the Concept of Marriage


Chimanimani / Zimbabwe · 2017   love's dance

The concept of marriage, especially when wedded to a religious connotation, has not appealed to me since I’ve undone childhood’s simple notion knots. “Till life do us part,” is more realistic and reasonable. It’s life that gets in the way of most relationships, not death. Things change, people change, trajectories change. Even a perfect match here and now might not be that there and then. Why vow elsewise, hypocritically, as though we own the future? Why force what once was so naturally? Sure, fight for it, but stop before all your fighting is for fighting’s sake, before fighting for turns into fighting against. Let go of what does no longer want to be held. Let go of it before it is all gone. Love is a stronger bond than paper, and it hurts to tear it up. Anyway, I get it: gestures, taxes, visa – they all are valid reasons.


Four guys in front of a waterfall

Chimanimani / Zimbabwe · 2017   waterfall wedding rehearsal


Wedding in front of a waterfall

Chimanimani / Zimbabwe · 2017   waterfall wedding



Chimanimani / Zimbabwe · 2017   love all over



Chimanimani / Zimbabwe · 2017   dad & sons


Chimanimani / Zimbabwe · 2017   bridal entourage


Great Zimbabwe / Civilization Cycles


Great Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe · 2017   pre-brick

Sometimes it’s an accident, abrupt, and sometimes a slow and long and painful disease, and sometimes the tide, swift, and sometimes the many many links of a chain reaction, but eventually, eventually every civilization fails and falls while another takes flight.



Great Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe · 2017   brother...


Great Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe · 2017   ...sister



Great Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe · 2017   building block rock


Along the Road / My Soul Putting on Weight

Empty stores in Zimbabwe

Along the Road / Zimbabwe · 2017   business carcasses


With every roadside village I pass through, my soul puts on a pound or two. Every story I can imagine, one sweet gram, every life I can come up with another ounce.


roadside town in Zimbabwe

Along the Road / Zimbabwe · 2017   cow car


village in Zimbabwe

Along the Road / Zimbabwe · 2017   bottle store & butcher


Zimbabwean village and dirt road

Along the Road / Zimbabwe · 2017   pick up bus




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