16 April 2014

Don't Forget These Things

It's sobering to realize that I'll forget 98% of the past three years.

I'll fill my brain with other moments and my hours in Africa will be crowded out.  It makes me feel sick and a little relieved.  Give me three weeks out of this country and all the things that matter so much at 7:44pm on a Tuesday night in April will just slip away.

So, I'm taking notes like a patient preparing for amnesia.  Don't forget these things:

Sulky boys on porches.  Little red sandals.

Dress up in the rainforest.

Dewy morning school prep.

Nounou's samosas.

Fresh baby fists at the maternity centers.

First birthdays and rare raspberries.

Sleepy reads. (Lord of the Rings this week).

Impromptu concert after an important purchase.

Photos in the bathroom mirror.

French lessons at this table.

Rain like never before.

Mosquito net movies.

Locker art.

Games on the field.


Steamy days.

Soccer field mushroom harvest.

Nontraditional celebrations and sink sitting.

This. This. This.  Don't forget this.


  1. Oh boy, reaching for the tissues. This is some form of torture.

    1. Oh, I have to stop before I get to the last picture or I lose it...

    2. I'm tearing up in a coffee shop looking through these beautiful pictures! My husband and I live in Kigali, Rwanda (were neighbors!) and are slowly wrapping our heads around the transition that awaits us in a year ( it's been 5 here). My problem is more hoarding beautiful Rwandan things as a reminder- I have a closet full of fabric ( but dont know how to sew), baskets piled up( to hang in our future non-existent house) and stale coffee to last us forever (that still seems to taste better than whats at 'home')! Thank you for sharing

  2. So many incredible shots: the sink elf, perfect! And the last one, oh my.

    Somehow savoring the moments never feels like quite enough...

  3. Made my tiny, jaded heart grow two sizes today . . . don't ever forget these moments because man, it's oh so easy to do so. Wonderful pictures. Makes me miss those days walking around with Lou Lou in search of monsters. And the smurf talks, of course. And everything else.

  4. this is beautiful. i wish i had done this with india, each and every time i went.

  5. Oh man. I've never met her, but I lost it when I got to the last photo. The photos will help Lou and Eli remember.

  6. I'm touched by your beautiful memorial and feel your heartbreak through these pictures. Thank you for sharing them. What a life changing experience you have had! How rich!

  7. I am so, so glad that you get this time to remember and say your goodbyes. I left Congo Brazzaville about a month ago, fully expecting to be back in West/Central Africa in six months. And then our unborn son was diagnosed with complex congential heart defects, and all of a sudden we're going to be living in the States forever (at least we desperately hope that's how long we'll have him). I never said goodbye, and it cuts so deeply every single day.

  8. Aw, so lovely. Thank you for sharing your journey - the pictures are so beautiful and true.

  9. But the grandparents will be so, so, so happy when you are all stateside again!

    1. The grandparents are definitely happy, Irma!!!

  10. That last photo is contest worthy for sure, and all of them so touching and real. Love being able to glimpse this world this way. .... from a long time acquaintance of Gretchen's. :-)


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