My trip to Comoros

As already mentioned, I recently traveled to Comoros.

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So how did this come about? My wife was going to Comoros as a State Dept. English Language Specialist which included her spending about three weeks on that island. This just sounded way too interesting to me, so I decided to tag along. Little did I know at that point that it would involve an almost 54 hour (!) plane travel to get there. I left my house in North Carolina at 4am on a Thursday, and arrived in Moroni (Comoros) two days later (Saturday) at noon. This was my route:

  • Durham (North Carolina)
  • Newark (New Jersey)
  • JFK (New York)
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Kigali (Rwanda)
  • Nairobi (Kenya)
  • Dzaoudzi (Mayotte)
  • Moroni (Comoros)

Needless to say, by the time I arrived I was extremely tired and was not looking forward to the usual lengthy and stressful immigration procedures of an African country. Thankfully somebody from the University of Comoros (where my wife was giving her workshops) was there to pick me up at the airport, so once I was done with visa and customs procedures I could relax.

Or so I thought....

The first day after my arrival I escorted my wife from our hotel to the university and was greeted by an official translater, who informed me that the president of the university had requested a meeting with me. Very surprised and very curious I went to the meeting the next morning and had an interesting conversation with the president.

As it turned out, he had heard that I am a Web Developer from Duke University and was asking me if I would be willing to meet with the IT people of the university and help them to solve some of the issues they are dealing with. What a great opportunity! Instead of being a tourist who aimlessly walks around and explores the area I could meet people, work with them, teach and help.

We drank tea and did some small talk, which was somewhat challenging because of the language barrier - but thankfully we had Aboudou, a translater, with us. Aboudou would become one of our closest aquaintances during our three weeks in Comoros, driving us to and from work and helping us in all kinds of ways.

I got started with my work, and I have to say that I was thorougly impressed. The people of the IT department had to deal with all kinds of challenges, and they did it with enthusiasm and an incredible amount of ingenuity.

Just take the computer store: A room with old computer equipment that would in most other places get discarded as electronic trash. Here they collect the parts and piece them together into working machines - pure genius!

My time in Comoros was a mix of work and just exploring the island, a perfect combination. It was very rewarding to donate my time to the university. In the end, the days before we had to leave to go back to our real work life in North Carolina, I felt like I belonged at the university.  I would meet people I knew walking around on campus, and would engage in short conversations here and there.

Typical classroom at the university.

I'm so very grateful that I could join my wife on this trip and had this experience that goes way beyond a vacation on an exotic paradise African island!

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Back from Africa

Those who know me personally might remember that I lived in Africa (Namibia) for almost three years, back in 1999-2001. 

I recently had the great opportunity to go back to a different part of that continent, to a country called Comoros (a small island nation just west of Madagascar). I will post something shortly with a more detailed trip report, just wanted to get a little teaser out. It's an extremely poor country, but beautiful with just about the friendliest and kindest people I've ever met.

 

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Scottish Sunset

A few weeks back I had finally, after several years, again the chance to go back "home" to Germany, followed by a quick trip to the scottish highlands.

One evening, while having dinner in a restaurant near beautiful Loch Linnhe, this beautiful sunset presented itself to us!

Loch Linnhe  

July 4th

Since I'm living in the USA I guess I should post a little image appropriate to July 4th, the Independence Day that was celebrated last week.

So here it is - I made this on a very early morning in Washington DC while walking around the Washington Monument at the Mall.

Reaching For The Sky

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a conference in Denver (I've never been in Denver before, so this was a real treat!).

While walking around the city the day before the conference I noticed a group of photographers, obviously on some photo walk, taking images of some art project. So I hung around a bit, ate my lunch, and waited til they are done.

  Obviously I had to take a stab at this subject as well, so after they were done (...and I was finished with my lunch), this is what I came up with:

Bridal Veil Falls

Last weekend I took a little trip with my motorcycle down the Blue Ridge Parkway and the "Moonshiner 28", which is a very twisty road through the Smoky Mountains National Park.

One of the probably most photographed spots on the Moonshiner 28 is the "Bridal Veil Falls", where you can drive with your vehicle under the waterfall. Obviously I had to do that with my trusted motorcycle as well.

Ometepe Island

I just went through some of the pictures I took in Nicaragua last year and came a cross this one from a little hut on Ometepe Island we stayed in for a few nights.

What a beautiful and peaceful place this is - with the ever watching Volcano Maderas in the background. One day we even climbed this volcano, and into the crater!

Santa Cruz and Volcano Maderas

Catching Some Air

It has been a while since my last post - sorry about that, I have been crazy busy with my little day job ;-)

Fortunately last week I as at a conference in Denver, and had a chance to make a little excursion to Boulder as well. It was my first time in that area, and since I love mountains I had to take a little trip into the Rockies. Here is an image I made in a ski resort a bit west of Boulder:

Seven Sacred Pools

This image is a bit older, from my vacation on Hawaii a few years back.

I just recently stumbled on this image while working on some images. Sometimes it's nice to look at older work and find little treasures that have been forgotten!

Seven Sacred Pools

Disc Golf Basket Case

I recently started playing Disc Golf - a sport I would have never expected to be fun to me.

Strange, since traditional golf is about the most boring sport I can imagine, but Disc Golf is really intriguing, maybe because it is played in a more natural environment instead of a manufactured course. In case you don't know - Disc Golf is very similar to the old fashioned golf, with the difference that you have to throw small frisbees (...which is a trademarked term BTW) into metal baskets like the one pictured below.

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