Fifteen years ago on this day, we lost a good friend.
In 1994, while traveling across Africa, we met Evelyn Molony in Khartoum, Sudan. Having just returned from a month-long journey to the remote Jebel Marra region of Darfur, she was clearly an adventurer in the truest sense of the word. Joining forces with her and her traveling companions Chris and Kathy, we made our way through Eastern Sudan and crossed what was then a wilderness border into Eritrea.
Traveling across such a remote, politically tense region was full of challenges. Evelyn, who had studied Arabic at Leeds University in the U.K., became our de facto guide and led us through a series of comical adventures that we treasure to this day. Evelyn was hilarious yet subtle, incredibly capable yet impressively modest. Best of all, she could be a goof-ball.
Our adventures with her continued months later, when we met once again in Kampala, Uganda. We traveled to the border of Zaire to visit the mountain gorillas and then on to the Ssesse Islands in Lake Victoria where we camped, explored the jungles, and kicked back on the isolated stretches of white sand. We still laugh about Evelyn running around shooing away a herd of massively horned Ankole-Watusi cattle that invaded our pristine beach. We celebrated the moonlit nights with fish fries and stories. For us, these were fantastic times, yet just across the border in Rwanda, genocide was coming to an end and the full extent of the atrocities was coming to light.
Evelyn and Chris, moved by the suffering of the Rwandan people, decided to travel to Rwanda and volunteer at an orphanage there. During her stay at the orphanage, Evelyn must have contracted cerebral malaria. Shortly thereafter in Nkata Bay, Malawi, Evelyn passed away due to complications related to the disease.
Our enduring image of Evelyn is of her with Chris laughing and goofing around with huge pieces of orange stuffed into their mouths. Those were really good times.