Waka Waka

Jada Bullen
December 1, 2015
Sitting in the Sahara

I sang The Lion King’s "Circle of Life" on a loop for 40 minutes in my head--

To distract myself from my inner thighs bruising and the unsteady sway of my body as I clung to Eli, my camel, for dear life. Because if I fall, I will not get up. But if I fall, I will fall in the Sahara . . . and that is not so bad.

The sand in the Sahara is like flour, soft and billowy, to fall into it would be like a caress . . . to be surrounded by it was a wonder.

To even get here, to the edge, of what feels like the Earth, is a privilege, a profound privilege that beguiled my mind in the moment and days afterward.

In that moment, I mentally grasped on to every memory, every image, from childhood until now, of things that made me feel just as profound: Flying in a plane for the first time, standing on the top of a tall hill in Grenada, watching Prince of Egypt, listening to gnawa music . . . and singing the Circle of Life.

Our trip to the Sahara desert is the most brilliant, shining, gleaming memory of my time here in Morocco and, at first, I was not sure how to express that sentiment, because I am not even sure that it has a name.

My memories are all snapshots and vague words. So, I have chosen a medium where one can say confusing clauses while still appearing prophetic:

The Haiku.

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba, Sithi uhm ingonyama! Y'alla.


My feet in cold sand

Wait for the heat of sun rise

Who knew deserts had snow?

Laughter melts the ice

Bright memories flood my mind

Sand, time, music, sand

Voices sing to you

A language your spirit knows

History’s heartbeat

Let’s go and get lost

See where the sand meets the sky?

We’ll find our way back . . .

The camel is not

Beautiful, but I cannot

unSee its beauty

Strange, striking shadows

Emerge from dunes and wind

Don’t let them escape

I feel like a queen

Radiant, out of a dream

 . .  .My camel just pooped . . .

Heaving and Panting,

We stand, squinting at the sun

This world takes my breath


Away, we go now

Like jins and genies floating

Into the sunset

We drove to the edge

Windows down, speeding through air

I left my heart there

"From the day we arrived on the planet, and blinking, step into the sun . . ."

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Jada Bullen

<p>I am Junior studying in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. As a feminist by thought and a hipster at heart, I seek every opportunity to break the barriers, disprove the labels, and blur the lines.</p>

2015 Fall
Home University:
Georgetown University
Cultural Studies
International Studies
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