Beauty, even in Death

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A person I loved died on Monday. The burial was yesterday in Uganda where she was from. She’d battled cancer for over a year, and just when it seemed she had overcome it, the doctors treating her exhausted the options to save her life. Though she’d lived in London for over 25 years, she chose to spend her final weeks …

Pamela Brown-PetersideBeauty, even in Death

Waiting…

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I don’t particularly like waiting. Especially when I have a clear sense of what I want to see happen and how (and when) I want it to unfold. And yet, so much of life involves waiting, whether we like it or not. Waiting to conceive a child. Waiting for a child to be born. Waiting for a spouse. Waiting for …

Pamela Brown-PetersideWaiting…

So Long New York…

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I flew into JFK 26 years ago this month from London with 2 suitcases. Tonight I fly out of JFK and back to London. I take another 2 suitcases (+ 22 boxes that are on a ship somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic). I leave behind a varied and rich tapestry of friends and neighbors. Incredibly, some of these …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSo Long New York…

Sacred Selma

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This past weekend, I had the privilege of visiting Selma. I’d seen the film and mulled over some of its history but wasn’t sure quite what to expect. My friend Linda and I traveled there by Greyhound from Montgomery in a white shuttle bus. Besides the female driver, there were only two other passengers (also women) with us. Apparently the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSacred Selma

Most Reluctant Convert

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(First posted to my blog on March 9, 2016.) I first encountered Clive Staples Lewis at the age of 9. In 4th grade at the American missionary school I attended in Nigeria, our teacher, Miss P (all single women were really called Miss in those days) who was from New Zealand, began reading The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMost Reluctant Convert

Twelve Angry Men

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(First posted on my blog on Feb 23, 2016.) I came across a chilling piece of data last night while reading last week’s Sunday NY Times (2/14/16) in an article by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson: according to FBI statistics, an African-American is killed by a white police officer roughly every 3 1/2 days. Not shot, but actually killed. …

Pamela Brown-PetersideTwelve Angry Men

My Funny Valentine

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(First posted on my blog on Feb 15, 2016.) Yesterday, I took my friend Cherie to lunch at the local diner. I first met Cherie 3 or 4 years ago when she began to appear on the benches in the mezzanine level of my subway station. One morning I sat down beside her and instead of dropping a dollar into …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy Funny Valentine

Surviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

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I continue to find myself gripped by the events surrounding the Ebola outbreak that continues to devastate Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As 2015 begins, there are now 20,000 reported cases and 8,000 deaths – and counting. I also keep reflecting on how thankful I am that the disease was successfully contained (at least so far) in Nigeria, Africa’s most …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSurviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

Nigeria’s Successful Response to Ebola

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Described as a “spectacular success story,” the World Health Organization declared Nigeria to be Ebola free on Monday October 20, three months after the disease arrived in Lagos, a vast city of 21 million. It was the first time Ebola had been contained in an urban context. Four days later, New York City confirmed its first case of Ebola. Ebola …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigeria’s Successful Response to Ebola

Hazards of Travel in Mid-2014

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I just returned from a very full 3 weeks of road and air travel that took me to London, Uganda and Kenya. Yesterday as I was about to enter my apartment building in New York with my luggage, a neighbor who held the door open for me seemed relieved to see me. I recognized her but don’t know her personally. …

Pamela Brown-PetersideHazards of Travel in Mid-2014

How I Wish My Father Were(n’t) Alive

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A week ago today in Jos, at a gathering where people were watching the Champion’s League Final, a hotly contested soccer match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid, another bomb went off. This time only 3 people were killed. Tragic, but fortunately the loss of life wasn’t significantly greater. It was the third bomb in Jos in a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideHow I Wish My Father Were(n’t) Alive

“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

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Pulitzer-prize winning writer Katherine Boo chose these seven words – “Afraid to speak, I learned to write” – to describe herself when she was being introduced at the NY Public Library on Wednesday night. Several writer friends on different occasions mentioned Boo’s book, Beyond the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, which prompted me to finally …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

Toni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

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This weekend, I had the wonderful pleasure of attending a launch of the latest issue of Black Renaissance Noire (www.nyubrn.org) an artsy literary journal, which the Institute of African-American Affairs @ NYU puts out three times a year. I’d never heard of Black Renaissance Noire, edited by the esteemed writer and poet Quincy Troupe, until my friend Linda was contacted …

Pamela Brown-PetersideToni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

My ‘Americanah’ Story

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  My favorite Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is in New York to promote her latest novel, Americanah, which just came out in paperback. Last night she spoke to a packed house at the Tenement Museum (www.tenement.org), today she’ll be a guest on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC and next week she’ll be at the Schomburg in Harlem. That …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy ‘Americanah’ Story

“Did I Tell You How I Met Your Granny?”

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This weekend I had the privilege of being in Northern Ireland to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my cousin G (that’s a different post). I was also extremely fortunate to share a few meals with Auntie P and her husband of 10 years, Dr. G. Auntie P, like my mother, is from Northern Ireland, and her mother, like my …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“Did I Tell You How I Met Your Granny?”