|Top image: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe|
About 18 months ago, I dreamt I was in an airport in Rwanda. The structure, on the inside, did not have any of the trappings of an airport situated in the midst of a civil war. Outside, the African sun was burning, bright and hot, an the skies were clear. At eye level, there was sparkling outside the window and a low, indescribable hum. And then, someone near the window howled, and I heard the word "machete" as people began to move frantically. But we had nowhere to run.
Fear, even while in a dream state, sets loose a surge of adrenaline that pulsates through your body like nothing else. As I joined the melee, the terror I felt was palpable. I couldn't shake the idea that I was a sitting duck and that I was going to die on the tip of a bloody blade.
I awoke in a sweat, shaking, and haven't been able to shake that dream since. It's as vivid today as it was that night.
A few months before, my former publisher -- a brilliant, inspiring gent -- posted on his Facebook page that he had just finished reading and had thoroughly enjoyed "What is the What," the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng. If you don't know of him, he's one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Jim's recommendation was enough; I picked up the book and dug in, and followed with other stories of genocide and the refugees that survived. These stories embedded themselves in my subconscious.
|Lower image: UN Photo/John Isaac|