How I spent my summer


“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain

School has started and kids around the state are asked to write about how they spent their summer. Well, I’m back in school (taking 21 credits this semester – yay me!) and thought I’d write about my summer. ‘Cause it was awesome. Hands in Zambia
On Sunday, June 28, my daughter Katie and I headed to Africa. We vacationed for a few days in Livingstone, Zambia, then joined a Mothers Without Borders team doing humanitarian service in and around Lusaka, Zambia. After that, we spent some time in Europe, then I headed home, arriving back on Aug 1. Katie is staying in Portugal with our son and his wife until the end of the year.  They are in Maderia, where Michael finishing his Master’s through Carnegie Mellon’s joint program with the University of Portugal.

Katie in Zambia
I first went to Zambia nine years ago, again with Mothers Without Borders. That trip was not my first trip to Africa, but I left a piece of my heart in Zambia. I went again 8 years ago, then 7 years ago, and then I had a little hiatus from traveling. This summer, it was time to go back. I was delighted to be able to take a daughter with me. There is something about travel that enlarges the heart and mind. More people should do it. More elected officials should do it. (And I don’t mean just to Western Europe, nice as that is.)  Public policy discussions would be very different, I think, if there was a bit more of a realistic view of what it means to live in a country with no safety net.

Katie had a brief bout with culture shock but quickly adapted and served with her whole heart. She found out for herself – like I did many years ago – that orphanages are no place for children.  We spent time loving, serving, playing, planting, reading, singing and praying. She learned for herself the power that love has to heal, to soothe and bless. She was a bit nervous to go and was more focused on the European vacation portion of the trip, but in the end, the three weeks in Africa were her favorite part. She would go again in a heartbeat. She would move there in a heartbeat. We went to serve, and as always happens, we were the ones most richly blessed.

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.

Mother Teresa





  1. Need moar pics!