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Bryna Griffin
somewhere between congo and massachusetts
a girl in transition.
Interests: new music, road trips, being silly, cooking and eating, creatures, traveling to far-flung places, the domestic arts, being outside on sunny days and watching bittersweet films on rainy days
Recent Activity
Lemon is lovely and traditional but I'd love to try Radish or Rhubarb!
On Maggie, I love the original hammered bracelets and copper rings. On Rustic Gem I really like the gold triangle and periwinkle earrings. My favorite Jo Totes bag is Betsy. And finally, I love the Mod Chambray dress at Ruche!
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Boys at Mt Hoyo in 2010. I’ve now been in Congo – mostly – since January 2009. More than 4.5 years. What have I learned in that time? So, so much. But one thing I have not learned nearly as much as I should have is French. In fact, it’s kind of shocking how little French I speak. And even I wonder sometimes how I manage to not only live here, but run offices and manage staff and keep entire programs running! It’s a combination of having very good staff that speak English and depending on the patience of others.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2013 at into the heart
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rwanda has quite an important tea industry. or rather: tea is an important part of the rwandan agricultural sector. given that it's a tiny country, i'm not actually sure how much of the world's tea is produced there... apparently it's a pretty small percentage. it makes for quite a pretty crop in the hills around gisenyi. up in the high altitudes, where it rains a lot and it's pretty much always cold and misty, you find huge valleys of brilliant green. it is scattered between other farms growing cabbage, carrots, potatoes and yams. it's particularly picturesque with congo's niyragongo volcano... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2013 at into the heart
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a while ago, while in gisenyi working on the [goddammed] audit, the roommies took a break to make some art. in the grass lawn, under a moonless sky, armed with glow sticks and a very slow shutterspeed, we had a ton of fun. and it's a work out trying to get these shapes formed across a huge empty space! the perfectly spherical globe is really tricky. of course the jellyfish is my favorite. team work! Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2013 at into the heart
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i've been spending more time up at the park the past couple months. lubumbashi is boiling hot but the rains have started in lusinga, and work makes an excellent excuse to retreat to the cooler, breezer climes of the plateau. however, with the rains the park will become more and more inaccessible so we are trying to cram as much as we can into the last few dry-ish months. we've had a number of activities going with the park rangers, including training on gps and developing a new data collection system, pre-selecting new rangers and a workshop to map out... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2012 at into the heart
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when life gives you rotten bananas, what else can you do but make banana bread? this is currently true for me both metaphorically and literally. luckily, i'm up at the park with a beautiful view and a newly built wood oven. to make banana bread in the middle of nowhere: 4 bananas, ripe with black spots, smashed 1 cup sugar 1 egg, preferably from a nearby hen 1/3 cup butter, melted or smushed in until mushy 1 tsp triple sec (not necessary, which is good because you probably don't have triple sec... though i actually do) 1 tsp baking soda... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2012 at into the heart
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this is the newly finished, minimally decorated guesthouse (gite) at lusinga. our team and the contractors did a really great job. it still needs a bit of art on the walls and a comfy sofa in front of the fireplace for these chilly nights at over 1600 meters... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2012 at into the heart
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on the long long road from lubumbashi to lusinga, there is a little town called bunkeya. the other day we stopped to buy rice, tomatoes and snacks: popcorn and peanuts. when the battery decided to conk out, we were there for a little longer than expected so i took out my camera. as usual, i mostly got people running, hiding or yelling angrily in my direction. but a few kids and a group of ladies selling rice were a bit better humored. and a little farther down the road, in a hot dry village in the middle of nowhere, bertrand... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2012 at into the heart
When I first heard this story, my reaction was... who cares what color he was... he was a boy and was innocent and was murdered. No matter his color or outfit, this is a crime that needs to be prosecuted immediately and seriously. It needs to be a discussion on guns and vigilantes. And I still feel that way. But reading your post I also understand better the special fear and the special meaning you take from the tragedy. And that black and mixed families around the country must feel. It's just that much worse and I am sorry that you have to carry that extra burden of anxiety because you've brought two kids of a different color into your family. They and you deserve better. And I know it will get better, but it will be slow. We need to push it. Time can't move quickly enough when it comes to opening hearts and minds.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2012 on Front Porch for Trayvon at all buttoned up.
1 reply
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going on our fourth day without water in the house/office, i thought i'd talk a bit about bucket showers. yes, bucket showers. (to be fair, i haven't had to take one in a while. my gym membership is really starting to pay off... thanks to good management and my $200 a month fee, they somehow keep that shower pumping every day.) in beni, you may remember, i had running water less than 25% of the time. but i also had a well. and a system. systems are important. every morning the gardener filled 6 big buckets with water and refilled... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2012 at into the heart
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it's been approximately 1 million years since i posted here. the internet's been terrible again in lubumbashi and since my vacation i've been so busy during the day that in the evenings i want to just watch dvds and zone out. and since i pretty much commute from my bed to my desk to my bed again it's hard to think of anything interesting to say. (the whole 5 meters between my bed and desk does make for a very very short commute.... too short one might say. sometimes i forget to put on shoes.) but i did head back... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2012 at into the heart
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i took this photo in serengeti in december. the two bulls were far away. my lens was good but not that good. the photos were blurry and the colors washed out in the late morning sun. but i played around with this one because i loved the memory. i loved watching these two, in the distance, playing and nuzzling. this photo is still not brilliant and definitely not novel. but i love it anyway. it says to me that they belong there. this is their home and they are their people. i have always loved elephants, but the more i... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2012 at into the heart
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon... I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2012 at into the heart
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swinging down... ... and up again. a tiny new yorker. the dinosaurs' view. biodiversity. out of the deep. proof of life on earth. Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2012 at into the heart
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...even on the greyest days and darkest nights. Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2012 at into the heart
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Always at this time of year I feel the need to write about tradeoffs. In fact, a year ago, almost to the day, I was sitting in this same Amtrak station, having packed up my things and closed the house alone, as I did again this year, and I was thinking about the choices I make and what I give up to do what I do. (And for effect, I took almost the same photo from the train arriving into New York City for this post!) They say you have to gamble big to win big. I remind myself of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2012 at into the heart
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i'm currently riding out the drc election period, which is unpredicatable and full of tension, in nairobi, kenya. i had a sunday off and decided to visit the giraffe centre. it's the offshoot of a rothschild giraffe conservation program, and is home to a number of the tall ones. they roam a huge green space and happily scoop pellets off the hands of tourists with their long, scratchy, blue tongues. i thought i'd stop in to see to these resident "savanna okapis," and, once there, how could i turn down a famous "giraffe kiss?!" though seriously huge, the thing that... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2011 at into the heart
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so far i've visited upemba twice. first in early october and again just now in late november. the change was dramatic. the rains started the day we arrived the first time and have not let up. the plateau at lusinga headquarter went from a golden brown, almost toasted looking, to brilliant green. i took these panoramas to show just how huge the difference is. right now our team stays at the fzs camp. when the buildings are completely rehabilitated, in a couple months, we'll stay in rooms in the guest building. but for now, it's small safari tents on the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2011 at into the heart
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upemba national park has faced a lot of challenges over the years. neglect and lack of funding, occupation of military and rebels, and intense hunting by all sorts of groups to the point that nearly all the large mammals were wiped out. the antelopes and small mammals were hunted for food, the zebras shot down en masse by the military and, rumor has it, even some UN peacekeepers for their skins, and of course, with scarce prey, the predators like lions and leopards largely disappeared. but a few individual zebra, as well as a small number of antelopes of different... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2011 at into the heart
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the up side of lubumbashi: there's a very fancy hotel with a very fancy pool. i've gone twice now to get out of the house/office and cool off on a hot sunday afternoon. there's a congolese funk band that plays and the place fills up with an assortment of locals and hotel guests. great for people watching and trying to forget about work for a few minutes. the downside: check out the bill... $16 for a salad, $3 for a coke (small glass bottle, this ain't no supersized unlimited refill situation) and $2 for a "small water." yes, that's US... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2011 at into the heart
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beans make up a pretty big part of the diet here... though the exact preferences vary throughout the country. often they are cooked fresh, like these, rather than dried first. i am constantly seeing new colors and patterns of beans... red, pinks, marbled, grass green, grey, zebra stripes, purple, black, polka dot, yellow, orange... literally a rainbow of beans in every market. sometimes sorted by type, other times all thrown together like this. pretty, right? Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2011 at into the heart
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this is one of my favorite places on earth. a bit of paradise tucked into the corner where congo, rwanda and uganda meet. surrounded by mountain gorilla forests, high altitude lakes and black volcanic soil fields, these brilliant green hills are simply stunning. not to mention that up here the climate is cool, the air is fresh and the view, of the virunga volcanoes, takes my breath away every time. Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2011 at into the heart
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right now i'm living in the fzs office in lubumbashi. but i have started looking for a place of my own for a couple of reasons - namely that it kind of drives me mad to live 15 feet from my desk and that we're about to bring in at least 2 new staff so will need my room as an office. oh, and the fact that all my stuff can't possibly fit into one room. house hunting in lubumbashi has not been any easier than house hunting in beni, but maybe even more discouraging because the prices are a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2011 at into the heart
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the other day we took a ride to a village outside upemba national park. on the way back we passed a boy with this enormous mushroom - the largest any of us had ever seen! we bought it off him for 500 francs (about 60 cents). below is romaen, the park's north sector chief, with the monster mushroom. that evening we proceeded to cut up pieces of it for dinner. and the next day for lunch. and the next night for dinner again... and we only ate half of it before we were all quite done with mushroom for a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2011 at into the heart