So what is this blog name, "rue eberhardt"? Specifically it is the name of a street in Algeria named after an early 20th century journalist/explorer named Isabelle Eberhardt. She can be traced back to my German father's line from the German part of Switzerland. When I first started reading about her in the early 1980's I was thrilled! Strange character, but a true adventurer. She was born in 1877 in Geneva and died in 1904 at 27 in Ain-Sefra, now in Algeria. Isabelle-Wilhelmina Marie Eberhardt, fluent in 6 languages, in 1899 arrived in El-Oued, in a N. Africa controlled by the French. She dressed as a boy and traveled on her horse freely among the Bedouin tribes, keeping a journal and sending manuscripts to her agent in Paris, who was contracted to publish the materials and send her money. Point of fact, he published the journals under his own name and did not send her money. Several times in the 5 years she traveled across N. Africa in the areas of Algeria and Morocco, she was near starvation. Her adventures, including an assassination attempt on her life, make for great reading. After she died in a flash flood in the desert, a street was named after her. She had a very difficult life, and it certainly had no glamour, as did some of the women exploring the African deserts at that time, but she touched a lot of people's lives, and maintained her integrity by refusing to spy for the French. I can't trace her journey now, as Americans are not allowed into Algeria, but I hope to explore some of her range in NE Morocco.
My living conditions as a Volunteer will be a bit rough, but of course 110 years later, 21st Century style and nothing to compare with those of Isabelle.