Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2009

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editor's note FROM ME TO YOU EYES WIDE OPEN This spring I braced myself for another adventure meeting my globe-trotting parents in East Africa. I'd heard quite a few scary stories about the area, so I registered with the U.S. Department of State. The e-mails started right away with reports of muggings, robberies, a stray carjacking, and Muslims attacking irreverent tourists, particularly on the island of Zanzibar we wanted to visit. Geez, I couldn't wait. I embraced my inner culturalist, opened my eyes and my heart, and headed out. It didn't take long for my first encounter. In Dar es Salaam, after 29 hours of Leslie enjoys the sunset at Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, February 2009. solo travel, I waited for my final commuter flight to Mwanza. An airline staffer came over the loudspeaker and caused a stir. Stocked with three words of Swahili, I was clueless. A group of my fellow travelers came over to me, told me the plane was delayed three hours, and they were protesting. They made sure I, too, had a coupon for a free lunch. They escorted me to the cafe counter, insisted I pick out something to eat, and counseled me on the best bottled drinks. Within a half hour, our plane showed up and my new friends told me to finish my lunch and guided me back to the gate. Well, if this was the aggressive behavior I had to look forward to, I was set. Over the next two weeks I was welcomed by most every African I met. They were thrilled to meet someone from the USA (pronounced "oosa") and "Obama Land." Yes, we had challenges. Someone tried unsuccessfully to pick my father's pocket while we were crowded on to a ferry. A street vendor got really snippy when we wouldn't buy a fourth soccer shirt from him. And a hyena said some awful things to me that I can't even begin to repeat. But I was also embraced. A young Muslim approached me my last day in Zanzibar and said he'd been watching me and he could tell how much I love my parents. Some young Muslim women in a shop coordinated an outfit for me when I gave one of them my inhaler and a month's supply of Claritin for her asthma. A guy from Morocco went joyously nuts at the thought of meeting an American woman. In this issue, we talk about practitioner safety. The package is not meant to be as alarming as a State Department bulletin, but to not broach the subject in our profession is naive and irresponsible. I'm motivated by calls from therapists (male and female) who've been inappropriately approached by misdirected clients and supposed prospective employers. Of course these examples are the exceptions. Ours is a trusting, loving profession, but it's useful to embrace your professional travels with open eyes, hearts, and minds. Oh, and by the way, the week after we returned from Africa, my father was robbed—in his own yard in rural Colorado by an acquaintance. LESLIE A. YOUNG, Editor in Chief 8 massage & bodywork may/june 2009

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