In and Around Central PA

“I’ll have a jumbo dog with everything.” I said to the gal behind the counter. Judging by all the photos and awards on the wall, I was in a good place for hotdogs, so I thought I’d go big

“Whaddya mean everythang?” asked the clerk, Joe’s Dog House buttons a-glimmering on her red apron.

“Ya know. All the things.”

“You mean you want your garlic and your bananas and your peanut butter and everythang?”

“What? No!”

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Topeka, Capitol at the Middle of the Country


The Governor’s Mansion, Topeka. Probably haunted.

Topeka spoiled me. I spent weeks of training struggling to learn my role as a bike technician with ICan Shine. Admittedly, between all of the trailer driving practice and power point presentations during training, one hears a lot of horror stories from veterans about camps gone wrong: bad hotels, unmotivated volunteers, tantrum-prone children, equipment thieves. So on my very first camp in Topeka, Kansas, I felt incredibly fortunate.

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ICan Work

It’s been a while, so here’s a recap:

I came home from Africa back in November 2012 to be with family over the holidays. Since I was home, I thought I would look for big boy jobs in my field. I had some success during the search, but ended up with a job I never thought existed. I am now a bicycle technician with an organization called ICan Shine, a non-profit group which aims to teach folks who have cognitive and other disabilities how to ride bikes, and to encourage them to become more confident and independent. Continue reading

Across to Tee Zed


At the bus station in Muleba, TZ

I knew I was close to Tanzania when a woman strolling along the road balancing a bundle of firewood atop her head made her reply to my formulaic greeting.

“Jebaale, nyabo!” I said in Lugandan to the lady, much as I had for the past fifty miles. Jebaale is used as a greeting, but literally means ‘good work’. I said it to her because I thought she actually deserved it.

“Jambo!” she replied, smiling. I recognized her Swahili greeting and rejoiced. The border town of Mutukula must be close now, though I continued my Lugandan outbursts as I whirred by. Continue reading