Jccwa Faya pronounced JES-WUH it translates to “Jesus” in Mabaan, a language and small tribe that I’m from. I was born in Juba, South Sudan moved to the states when I was two years old. My family has lived in Houston, Salt Lake City, and Omaha we are currently living in Denison, Iowa. I would say myself pretty nomadic. With no set location I would like to visit a small village in some country live there for a few months, learn the culture, take it all in, and travel to the next place and so on. I recently told my dad I was moving to Portland and all he had to say was your always out there, living your life. I like riding my bike in the evenings. I haven’t thought about going on any long distance riding but I really like biking in the city. I ride a schwinn super le tour 12.2. And my favorite thing about nature is the trees. I’m a big tree guy, but I also love the coast.
It’s not about doing it all, or doing what’s right, but doing whatever the moment ask for.– Jccwa Faya
Ron Gallo : You just got back from cross country travels, what inspired this trip?
Jccwa Faya : On this trip it was Evan Giles, Brian Johnson, and myself.
EG: Jake Dunwoody*. it just felt strange going through the same daily motions after he died. He was a main reason I’ve stayed at Buvette and Buvette has been a main reason for staying in Omaha.
*Dunwoody and Evan worked together at La Buvette a well known French restaurant in downtown Omaha. He was a solid dude, a true brother. Everyone who knew Dunwoody felt the same way about him he was a very present, wholesome being.
JF: I just seen that Portland, Oregon was on the map as one of the stops. I’ve never been but I’ve always pictured myself living there. That was enough for me to go on a month long road trip.
BJ: I guess I went because I wanted to see the beauties the American west had to offer while I was still free from the shackles of employment.
RG : and what was the route?
JF : Omaha
We stayed in Sheridan, Cody & Jacksonhole in WYO
Oswald West State Park
Big Sur (sooooo beautiful)
Morro Bay (highlight)
Venice Beach (good people)
Glen Canyon NRA (dopest camp spot)
RG : can you talk about the juxtaposition going between the major cities and protests vs. the time spent camping and living out in nature? how did each setting effect you internally? would you say that fear and peace existed in both places in different ways?
JF : Oh wow! yes, and good question. I’m very new to camping, along with protesting. I would definitely say there was fear and peace in both places.
I felt the peace when we protested in Capital Hill neighborhood, because we kept moving forward. We walked through the neighborhood chanting “Out of your houses, and into the streets”. People were leaving their homes to join the protest, it just felt so effective. when we protested in front of the police, I felt fear. because I was thousands of miles from home, my parents didn’t know I was on this trip. I just didn’t want to get shot or hurt in any way, cause telling my parents I’m across the country and was physically hurt at a protest. Scary.
When camping/being in nature for the most part it was primarily peaceful. I think there was one memorable night of fear. In Idaho I woke up to cops saying “Jccwa if you don’t wake up right now your going to get arrested”. When I heard Evan and Brian say “Jccwa wake up man!, wake up!” I thought they were waking me up for a sunrise. I was super tired, in my mind I was thinking I’ve seen plenty of sunrises. I don’t have to get up right now, they’ll understand. That’s the cops knew my name, which freaked me out. The cops told us we could have been shot at because the owner of the property we camped on wasn’t friendly. It was a really cold and confusing night. The story ends with the cops allowing us to stay the night because we were all too drunk to drive. Nobody got arrested, nobody got a ticket.
With being the only black on this trip. I just felt I was was getting a different respond from the world with whatever we were doing. camping, protesting, thrifting, gas stations, grocery stores etc.
RG: Can you describe this response you felt?
JF : On top of that being the only person of color on this trip, where ever we went/ whatever we were doing there was always someone at the grocery store, gas station, park that would say or do something that would have me feeling marginalized. The way people would look at me, the remarks, and questions they’d ask. “Wow, you English is really good!”, “I love your skin, it’s beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone this dark before.” staring at me like they’ve seen a ghost? shits not cool. those are just a few examples of Microaggressions that would happen just about everyday. Having to think of a response every time this happens is annoying. because majority of the time the ones saying these things are totally oblivious to the harm being done. I’ve tried explaining why it isn’t okay to say these things, but half of the time they’d look confused, think I was upset, or just walk away. When in reality I’m just trying to have a conversation. It’s fucking wack, honestly.
RG : share one sentence of wisdom you have gained from your trip.
JF : It’s not about doing it all, or doing what’s right, but doing whatever the moment ask for.
RG : do you feel optimistic for the future?
JF : Yes, and no. With everything thing that’s going on in the world It’s really hard to think about the future. I would say now is the time to start thinking of new solutions. Change will come, it also will. With our responses to everything that is going on in the world right now. I feel like we have to be careful with what we say and what we do. The same tactics we’ve used in the past won’t work today. I don’t know times are really weird. But we need to really work together. Use our resources. And Build something for the future. That’s all I got.
RG : Tell us a little about what you were traveling in and survival tactics, pandemic safety, etc. plus any suggestions for people that want to do the same.
JF : We rode in a silver 2003 Honda Civic. With the way we were camping we would some spots weren’t really camp spots but we would drop our bags off on a trail, one of us would park the car in a neighborhood, and bike back to the spot. A lot of the best views came from that I really couldn’t pinpoint where any of these spots are at, it made it special just being so random and beautiful. For pandemic safety we all had mask, I brought germ x, and sani wipes. My advice for anyone planning a cross county camping road trip. If you can you should definitely bring bikes. Forget about the highway, take the more scenic route. Prepare for the weather! make sure your sleeping bag is compatible with the weather conditions you’ll be traveling through. Good sleeping pad equals good sleep. Important stuff to bring extra socks, rope, pot/skillet two burner stove (we used a msr pocket rock). This trip was planned in a week. We weren’t prepared by any means. We just brought what we thought we needed and figured it out as we traveled. Rope was so important tho! we didn’t think we were going to use it at all, but when we pulled off to the side of the road in Monument Valley to take some pictures our car got stuck in some sand. A car pulled over and helped pull us out, with the rope we had.
FULL GALLERY BELOW : (ALL PHOTOS BY JCCWA FAYA)