I have heard that when some people go to the Sahara, or when they go to Africa in general, there is something that is so powerful in the being there that it is somewhat like a siren, always calling you nearer, over and over; like the Trevi fountain beckoning for coins, promising a return to the eternal city for pocket change; like Samuel, hearing a voice, returning to Eli. I am unsure if that is true. I suppose I will find out soon enough.
I wanted to find a poem or a short story that would, without ever having been there, encapsulate Africa. Naive, I know, but that didn't stop me from looking. Perhaps, there will be something on the return trips. Or maybe i'll drop a little Leonard Cohen for you. Something positive for what we think isn't so:
Ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
there is a crack, a crack in everything
that's how the light gets in.