Red Egg Jewelry

Red Egg prayer beads and jewelry

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Red Egg is a center for art that deepens our connection with wisdom traditions around the world. Read more


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In Kiswahili, you say urafiki.

Yolanta, Tutu, Katulica, Edith.

The rambunctious friends from Zambia stayed in Dave and Ronah's apartment.

Yolanta, Ronah, Tutu.

Ronah and Katulica

Miss K.

While Dave's (and our) friend Christian...

...hosted the California contingent in his beautiful Nairobi home.

Allison, Dave, Amy.

Rod.Karen.Amy and Miss K.Of course, it's not like the two groups of travelers stayed apart for very long.

Allison knew she'd be surrounded by new friends in Kenya, but just to hedge her bet, she brought a few old pals along with her anyway.

Here's another one.

So by the time of the wedding, everything was already rocking-and-rolling.



Dave and Tom.


Tom, Rod, Gilbert, Dave, Monte, Christian, Chris.

This one's a caption contest.

Zachs, Edith, Ronah, Yolanta.

Ronah, Dave, Amy, Allison.

Sister Agnes.The bravest thing I've ever done in my life was to get on the dancefloor later that night with these Kenyan and Zambian dancers.

Don't ask.

No, I didn't hold my own.

Faith and Masaa.

Miss K, Allison, Monte, Tutu.That's a Tusker in Monte's hand.

Now and then—like when watching futbol and eating nyama choma—Masaa and I have had a few of those with Monte, too.

Earlier at the reception there had been a sudden downpour. And now on the way to the dancefloor, our bus slid off the black cotton road into a ditch.

Karen, Yolanta, Tom, Allison, Amy.For some that just meant that the dancing began a little earlier.

And anyway here's comes Gilbert to the rescue—in the wedding-festooned John Deere.


Earth from Three Lands

Earth from three lands mixed—Zambia, Lukenya, California.

We were meeting Ronah Mussenge, David’s bride-to-be, for the first time.

And that first time was on their wedding-day.

And not only that, but the wedding was going to be at the Red Rhino Orphanage Project in Lukenya, where we hadn't been for four years.

So we experienced all three—meeting Ronah, being at the wedding, and seeing these children in their home at Red Rhino—all in one day.

When we had been at Red Rhino four years ago, the steel trusses for what would be the kitchen and dining hall were going up.

And now, four years later, the building was hosting the wedding of the orphanage’s director and the children’s Auntie Ronah.

The children were going to dance Ronah up to the altar.

“We’re going to lose it then,” I told Monte who’s made three earlier trips to work as a volunteer at Red Rhino.

“I thought you were exaggerating,” Monte told me later.

“But, yeah, I lost it then myself.”

Afterwards, as the girls—Prudence, Faith, Rachel, Frida, Peace, Mercy, and Mrs. O’Bama (because her name is Michelle)—flocked around their good friend, Ronah told them that there was one small diamond on her engagement ring for each of the children at Red Rhino.

And so the girls counted the stones meticulously. There are twenty-two children at Red Rhino.

“But there are twenty-three stones,” the girls said.

“One of the stones is for your aunties,” Ronah told them.

 The children’s aunties are the women who look after them.

On the day of the wedding, when we had turned off the paved Mombasa road onto the murram Daystar road to the orphanage, the conversation in the landcruiser went mostly silent.

So many memories rose as we traveled along this road again.

For one thing, each of us has had important experiences with giraffes here.

Once, for instance, as we were returning late from Nairobi, we spied these stately, shadowed presences moving quietly through the night.

"Can we stop and get out?" I begged.

"Sure," said Dave, "why not?"

And so soon—the engine off now—we found ourselves wandering as if in a dream among these graceful night-shadows.

There were no giraffes in sight along the road on this wedding day, but there were elands, and as almost always, wildebeests and zebra and Thompson’s gazelles.

We’d seen photographs of the orphanage completed and the kids at home. But we hadn't been there in person yet.

What strikes you—whether it’s your first time or you remember the land as nearly barren and barely delved—is simple.

Home. Unsentimentalized. No need for cute.

What, if we’re lucky, each of us has found once, only to lose again. It seems that most of us can’t simply inherit home. We have to create it, too.

And yet at the same time, how many places, so deeply lived in, welcome us back home as well?

The kids have as much of a stake in this marriage as anyone. Maybe more.

They already call David “daddi” and Ronah “auntie.”

So on the day of the wedding, the discussion among the children became rabbinical.

“If you’re marrying daddi,” they report to Ronah, “then you must be mami now.”

“Do you want me to be your stepmother?” Ronah asks.

“No, not stepmother,” they answer.

We haven’t introduced the guests. We’ll do that next time.

But in the meantime, suffice it to say, this wasn’t a “destination” wedding unless the destination—no matter how complex—is home.


Roadtrip (Days 1-2): Tioga Pass—Bristlecones—Vegas

When we were flying home on the last leg of a 10-month journey around the world, I gazed down from my window seat upon the vast canyonlands of the American west.

"Ah," I felt in my bones. "This is it. I'm coming home."

Debi and I are on a roadtrip into these canyonlands right now. We crossed the Sierra on Route 120 through Tioga Pass, a drive we had made a year ago, as well.

The next morning we were on Route 168 amid ancient bristlecone pines.

Then in Nevada, we hit Route 95 and first made a slight jag north to visit Goldfield, the boom-and-bust mine town where Debi's great grandfather once managed a gold mine.

But isn't mining by its very nature already boom-and-bust?

Then...what the hell...Route 95 takes you right through the phantasmagoria that is Las Vegas.

So we drove the Strip with all our car windows rolled down and Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" blaring from the speakers. 45 minutes driving through Las Vegas was quite enough.

And we happily lit out for where we're really heading.




The story of Christ's passion — told in the poetry of sacred text and music — has the power to open our hearts at their most existential depths.

Tonight on Good Friday, Debi and I attended a beautiful "Tenebrae" service at the Carmel Mission. And so the poem "Tenebrae" by our friend Denise Levertov came back into our hearts as well.


Heavy, heavy, heavy, hand and heart.
We are at war,
bitterly, bitterly at war.

And the buying and selling
buzzes at our heads, a swarm
of busy flies, a kind of innocence.

Gowns of gold sequins are fitted,
sharp-glinting. What harsh rustlings
of silver moiré there are,
to remind me of shrapnel splinters.

And weddings are held in full solemnity
not of desire but of etiquette,
the nuptial pomp of starched lace;
a grim innocence.

And picnic parties return from the beaches
burning with stored sun in the dusk;
children promised a TV show when they get home
fall asleep in the backs of a million station wagons,
sand in their hair, the sound of waves
quietly persistent at their ears.
They are not listening.

Their parents at night
dream and forget their dreams.
They wake in the dark
and make plans. Their sequin plans
glitter into tomorrow.
They buy, they sell.

They fill freezers with food.
Neon signs flash their intentions
into the years ahead.

And at their ears the sound
of the war. They are
not listening, not listening.

                    — Denise Levertov, Fall 1967