Mauritania is a land of striking beauty, with sand dunes lined against the sky, Bedouins riding camels in the countryside, and flying beetles that look like they come straight from the abyss of the Apocalypse. Mauritania is also a land of extremes-extreme beauty, extreme hospitality, and lately, extreme religion.
It was hard to miss me on the lava-rocked streets of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, while I was working for a locally led organization, HEAL Africa. I lacked the grace of Congolese women who glided across the tumultuous terrain in high heels while I tripped over the ubiquitous black rocks.
Another amazing grassroots effort in the Middle East is Combatants for Peace, a group of former Palestinian fighters and Israeli soldiers who have united to reject violence and tell their stories to each other as a way of finding peace.