“Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.”—Nelson Mandela

As unbelievable as it sounds, I’m feeling a little gratitude toward President Trump today. It’s been nearly two months since I took a six-country tour of southeast Africa, and I’ve struggled with what to write about that experience. Although our nearly month-long visit was remarkable in many ways, I haven’t felt inspired to get going on a multipart series just yet. That is, not until I woke up this morning to the sound of my husband, Chris, groaning. In slippered feet, I pattered downstairs to find him in our still-dark kitchen staring at his iPad, his face illuminated from below like a villain in a Vincent Price movie.



“What is it?” I asked, nervous to know the answer. It isn’t like Chris to start the day on such a sour-sounding note.


“Ohhh … it’s Trump,” he grumbled. This from a man who refuses to ruin his mornings reading headlines about our country’s, ahem, leader of the free world. Lately, the screeching from all sides of the political aisle have left us both feeling overwhelmed and helpless. So much so that lately we’ve adopted an ostrich-like approach to the news. Chris has even taken to reading the Chicago Tribune, which he still does daily on his iPad, from back to front to avoid starting with the worst of the wince-inducing POTUS faux pas. He likes to ease into the day with a healthy dose of comics instead.


But this morning was different. Before the sun had even risen on our little hidey-hole out here at the forty-ninth parallel, Chris was ambushed while trying to multitask coffee-making with newspaper-downloading. Next to the mug waiting to be filled with fuel glowed a headline that popped up from the front page: “Sen. Dick Durbin: President Trump used ‘hate-filled, vile and racist’ language in immigration meeting.”

“What could he possibly say that’s any more ridiculous than what he’s already said,” I asked.

“I’ll tell you what,” Chris answered. “He’s calling Haiti and African countries shitholes.”


Well, I don’t need to bore us all with my thoughts on that assessment. What can anyone say? Trump is like that drunk, racist uncle with Tourette’s syndrome that shows up once a year at family gatherings and no one wants to talk to him, let alone claim relation to him.


Instead, I’d like to see the silver lining of this situation and thank President Trump. That’s right. Thank you, President Trump. Because now I finally do feel inspired to write about that six-country tour of Africa. I’d like all the world to know right away that, while we saw many mudholes, bungholes, bird holes, swimming holes, watering holes, buttonholes, feed-holes, knot-holes, postholes, potholes, portholes, and even pie-holes, we did not see any shitholes—at least none that compared with the one we saw when we returned home to you and your mouth.


And to the beautiful people of Haiti and the countries of Africa, I would like to say, “Please excuse our uncle. He hasn’t had any home training.”






33 thoughts on “Africa: Land of Holes

  1. Monica!!! I love you so much right now! This is a fantastic spur of the moment post! Thankyou for defending our friends in such a poignant way. I’m so mad too, and your words help me feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said….as always! May I ask where you took the first pic? We were in South Africa in October and it looks like the “sticks” used in an Apartheid Museum exhibit in Johannesburg, which of course would be very appropriate for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Awesome museum, the whole South African culture is very interesting. I only knew about Apartheid from thousands of miles away as a teen and to see it up close and personal was very moving.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Monica and Chris, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the lovely photos of a beautiful country filled with gracious people. Laura lived in Kenya and Zimbabwe. We have a large weaving called “The Wedding Proposal” together with African masks gracing our living room. These form a daily reminder of the African continent and the origins of our species.

    As one member of that species #45 is a national deplorable. He owes both the world and all Americans an apology. He does not represent the majority of the American people. You do!! As citizen diplomats you and Chris represented the rest of us on your six-country tour of Africa. I know you left an impression of curiosity, respect and kindness. For that, I, for one, am eternally grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the excellent and poignant response to such a disappointing experience. As always I enjoy your writing, and the incredibly beautiful story telling from images. Your words were important and relevant given your recent travels.

    So can we get our racist bumbling uncle to stop showing up?


  5. Great writing, Monica. That is the best opening to a story I’ve read in a long time! Thank you for showing all the people that you visit that Americans are not like our current leaders.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d like to say ‘Please excuse him’, but I can’t. Leaders are meant to set an example; they should aspire to higher standards than the rest of us, not lower. I can’t imagine how anyone can excuse him.

    Anyway, love your pictures, Monica, and looking forward to the posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of my goals for 2018 is to try and limit the amount of news I read because I get so upset and gasp at most headlines. This post lifts me up and is much appreciated. Love and kindness is all around the world and I am thrilled to hear your stories and see pictures of these amazing people.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s