The author at the edge of Victoria Falls

Mortality and the Devil’s Pool

Eight nervous travelers linked hands to form a human chain, then waded across the Zambezi River to the edge of 350-foot-high Victoria Falls. With the roaring mist from the thunderous cascade in our faces, we clambered onto an outcrop and edged our way to a hot-tub-size eddy at the lip of the falls called the Devil’s Pool. A swim in the Devil’s Pool means standing within 12 inches of certain doom while staring into the abyss. As I hopped into the water, I thought it might be the last conscious moment of my life.

women praying at the Western Wall Tunnels

An Intricate Labyrinth of Tunnels Beneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall Reveals Clues to Ancient Biblical Life

By Mira Temkin Among Jewish people, Jerusalem’s Western Wall is the holiest place on earth. The “Kotel,” as it is called in Hebrew, evokes a mystical connection to history, Judaism, and personal prayer. People come to meditate at this sacred site and place notes with their personal prayers into the cracks between the stones. For…

Tunisian Suburb Has Local Cafes, Arab Handicrafts and Views of Carthage

The Tunisian suburb of Sidi Bou Said, a welcoming hilltop village about twelve miles north of Tunisia’s capital of Tunis, overlooks the ruins of ancient Carthage. It offers intimate cafés, locally-made handicrafts and stunning views of the Mediterranean. Locals call the hillside Kursi al-Sulh, ‘the seat of reconciliation,” since in former days it was a quiet place where Muslim holy men retreated for repose and meditation. The town’s name is derived from a religious figure, Abu Said al-Baji, who died in 1231 AD and is buried beside the town’s minaret in a mausoleum built during the period of Turkish rule.

The Hills Are Alive in Rwanda

By David DeVoss: We rose before dawn and began driving across Rwanda, a densely populated East African country on the edge of the Great Rift Valley from which springs the headwaters of the Nile. As the sun rose above the misty hills the roadsides filled with brightly dressed women balancing bundles atop their heads and men pushing bicycles piled high with agricultural produce. A mountainous, landlocked nation that calls itself “The Land of 1,000 Hills,” Rwanda has 12 million people who live in a country smaller than Maryland…