Humanitarian Work Is Really Changing Centuries Old Habits

We humanitarians, NGO’s and even mission workers often forget something very critical. Habits, attitudes, and traditional patterns of thinking and behavior must change. That “amazing technology”, that amazing “idea” to, “Help those poor people over there”, is not the main thing. That flash of brilliance on our part  is not even close to being the…

When A Malian Says, “You Will Pity Them”

“Another irretrievable day has passed, and all I’ve done today is work for money.” (Cliff Vogh) My friend eloquently encapsulated one of the worst fears of my life. That working for money would become my daily routine and purpose. I have little comprehension how people work in cubicles, or the like. Punching a clock from…

The African Bush Does Not Seem So Empty Any More

There was a statement I was told by an international worker in Ivory Coast; He said, “You are never really alone in Africa.” I was in Ivory Coast at the time, and the statement proved true. No matter how far in the rain forest you go, if you stop, someone hears you and comes out…

Brakes or Horn In West African Elephant Grass?

There is a joke that goes around  West Africa saying, “You know you have been in West Africa too long when your brakes and horn both stop working, but you pay to have the horn fixed first.” In west Africa, honk your horn 2 seconds before any light turns green. Honk at all animals, pedestrians,…

When African Religion Gives Scars and Demands Blood

“The problem for Daouda was that he was stuck in this rejected middle ground. His family did not want anything to do with him. Yet the Christians he knew were afraid to go near him as well. Because he used to curse, abuse and spit on them before, as a good practicing radical.”

The African Bus Burned My Feet But A Catholic Angel Appeared

It was February 2006. I needed to fly out of Abidjan a few days early because of more rumored protests. The very first streets protesters block in Abidjan is the round point into the airport. I simply could not afford the lost time in Mali if I had to sit a few more days in…

A Conversation In Mali Was Enough

“I grew up in Libya in abundance and I believed my people lived in similar conditions. My father never told me. This is pure hunger. Life in the Sahara is hard. It’s tough even for the young people so how can the elderly take it? I can’t  stand the way my people are living here….

Donkey Cart Diaries From West Africa

The donkey cart on the opposite side of the highway was meandering up the shoulder of the road as opposing traffic. This was not the issue. No, a sight much more alarming was. Snail speed donkey traffic. I once rode a donkey cart for four km to the Sikasso market. Like most time fixated and…

Embarrassed In West Africa

I arrived at this remote village and had to meet every single family within the whole campement.  I was led down every back path to meet people in each village hut,  even people living on the outer fringes of the village, families in the bush really. As I exchange greetings, news, and small talk a…

Hike Chat Video About Mali, West Africa

Africa update. I was out hiking and recorded a little video update about our return to Mali. For some reason I never mentioned the water filtration work, or the audio educational materials.

African Motorcycle Blues – Sewer Water On My Feet in Mali

I have never experienced anything this drastic. However, there are days you just go to your room, shut the door, and pretend that Africa is no longer on the other side of that closed door. “I didn’t give a damn how many French government workers stared at me as I dragged my blue plaid rice…