My mind is clear and in control. My senses in alert. Are they coming? I quickly get dressed in the dark, hide my sat phone and close my bag. My movements are surprisingly precise. I can feel my heartbeat getting back to normal. I know what just happened. The screams stopped right after the detonation. I switch on my flashlight, point it towards my face and open the door.
The cold is biting my cheeks and my throat. I close my eyes, for a few seconds and feel the wind against my face. Alone, with just the sound of the snow against my skis, and my breath, as I’m pushing to maintain my speed and expel my rage. My thighs are burning as I empty my mind. I wish it were colder.
In the train, my head full of music and thoughts. I close my eyes and think about my veranda in Bangui and the rain. I smell the last book I just bought and instantly miss all the others. As I’m focusing on my breathing, my mind starts shifting and suddenly, I want to be swimming in a cold fjord, listening to my heartbeat.
I am ready now.
In Motion pt. 1 by The Cinematic Orchestra
10 April 2012: Switzerland [Click on the picture to enlarge it].
The sky is filled with stars and the night absolutely silent. Just a small, soft music, in my head.
Lots of meetings and discussions with interlocutors. Some sms. And a memory card in my pocket, containing some first official pictures to be processed.
The music gets lounder. 48 heartbeats/min.
Another night in Africa.
- “I again spent the night with that guy. I really have a crush on him”
- “Is it why you look so tired? … “
- “No, I was just so afraid of telling him “I love you” while dreaming that I did not sleep at all”
- “Love is tough…”
Friendships sometimes lies in details. Not in the amount of emails exchanged or in the frequency of your phone calls. Sometimes, it’s just about a story shared on skype, or a card sent from the other side of the world for Christmas.
Love lies in microscopic details…
And if you think you are well settled, in your favorite leather sofa and clean apartment, without any motivation for going anywhere . Just watch this.
2nd weekend spent in Yaoundé, still waiting for my return ticket to the field. Weird situation, with one hemisphere at work and the other one on vacation, trying to kill time.
At least, it gives me some time to discover some local restaurants, bars and music clubs. No jazz or concert of Bonobo but a really interesting combination of styles, musics and attitudes on stage. It’s just sad that my new portrait lens is not with me right now, but in a trunk somewhere in Bangui, hoping to be found again at my return …
New Year is supposedly a good time to think about what you’ve done in the past 12 months and what you’re planning to do in the 12 following.
2012 has been an amazing year for me, spread between 3 continents and filled with great moments. Currently in Yaoundé (Cameroon), due to the ongoing tensions in CAR, I can not prevent myself from thinking about my last new year’s eve, surrounded with great friends and to try to imagine where I will be in 12 months… I’m already looking forward to it.
I wish you all the best for 2013 and to follow and fulfill your dreams. And a particular though to my colleagues and friends based or living in Central African Republic or Darfur. I sincerely hope you will finally get the peace you deserve and have been seeking for so long now.
Take care, stay safe and have fun!
Picture from my assignment with the Achalay Fundation in Peru [Click on the picture to enlarge it].
A new episode of “Life is tough”:
Having meetings with local representatives, including high rank officers, is sometimes a bit tricky and intimidating. Although I am now getting used to it and even started enjoying it, it can suddenly be very complicated to keep your nerves when you interlocutor welcomes you wearing his official pants, part of his uniform, and a… lady top (cartoon style).
Neither is it easy not to laugh when you get an official, but unexpected visit on Sunday, while watching an episode of the (excellent) series “New Girl” and still having the last joke in mind.
03 December 2012: Barthelemy, Zemio, Central African Republic. [Click on the picture to enlarge it]
And for those still wondering, here is a new definition of love:
- My ex-girlfriend, the model, we had sex and it was just like… I was happy. You know? We were connected, I wasn’t thinking about anything! What is that?
– That is love, you idiot!
– [Whispering] That’s love!!
– … Yeuuuuurk!!
– Yeah, it sucks!
– So do I have to be in love now, to have good sex?
Schmidt and his boss, while in bed. New Girl Season 2, Episode 9
On the way back from the airport, I can not prevent myself from smiling, listening to Alpha Blondy’s singing “You don’t have the right to shoot the children”. At the back of the land cruiser, a father and his daughter are trying to get used to each other again. Few minutes earlier, they embraced for the first time in two years, result of an incursion of the LRA in their house one night.
Later, watching a movie under a sky filled with stars, I feel relaxed and in peace. That was before I decided to apply some mosquito-repellant on my arms and hands and then went to the toilets, unfortunately in that order.
Life is tough… sometime.
01 December 2012: A group of local taxi drivers performing during the 54th anniversary of the independence of the Central African Republic, in Zemio, close to the border with Congo. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].
5 years ago, I had made official my decision to stop working as an engineer and was preparing a 5 weeks trip to China. Nobody would have been able to make me believe that I could be the person I am today. And I cannot imagine who and where I am going to be in 5 years.
11 November 2012: Cow market at Mboki, South East of CAR (Central African Republic). For the first time in years, the persons present there asked me to take pictures but then did not try to pose in front of my camera [Click on the picture to enlarge it].
5 years ago, I was struggling to add new functionalities to a user interface. This week, I’m going to reunite a young girl, former child soldier, with her parents. Life is full of surprises…
P.S: I just put online a series of portraits I took in Peru