The Farting Sows of Sanabougou One – What If It’s Not My Dream?

 “He had worked for an entire year to make a dream come true, and that dream, minute by minute, was becoming less important. Maybe cause that wasn’t really his dream.” (The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo) I want to write a book on community development called, “The Farting Sows of Sanabougou Sikasso: Real stories of Sustainable and…

Expat Expectations: Leave Them Behind In Sikasso, Mali

Interestingly, most foreign country expats are told to limit travel at night for personal safety. But it is my observation that the advisement never really stops most people after the first year or so, especially among the “eating out” and the “going to the bar” crew. Generally, there are greater risks at night. However, the…

Back To School In Mali, West Africa, Means Back To Streetlights For Light To Study

Once having my eyes opened to the educational challenges for the poorer families, on our nightly foraging runs I made it a point to see if there were other children in this town trying to paddle the same educational boat.  Sure enough, there they were, everywhere. Over the next few weeks I saw hundreds more young boys and girls, all over the town of Sikasso, doing the very same thing; seeking out enough light to read and write.   A few kids here, a few more there, at one time we saw over a dozen studying under one street light.

Ekkie’s Garden: A German Biologist’s Eyes To See Ivory Coast.

“Every now and again, during our sojourns in West Africa,  one encounters individuals providing another facet view.  A facet we would never see if left to our own speculations. This enlightenment revolutionizes how we see this place forever.” (Andy Rayner) There was a “Forêt Classé” (protected forest) near the village of Bébou, South of Abengourou, in…

The Generosity Of West Africans. A Fish For The Rich Guys

Why should the rich guys get free fish? Here is a story for my Ivory Coast years.  Stumbled across it in my journal from 1996. We lived in Abengourou,  about 220 km North East of the capital city of Abidjan. I’ve experienced the Extreme Generosity of the Poor in West Africa often. “Once again, a…

 Politics For The Poor… Simply Voting For A New Crook?

“Well, the old gang made its millions; now a new gang wants to rob us.”  There are days I feel he same way as most Malians do, that little good will result. “The Ecuadorian government, a military junta, fell one day with riots, shooting, and mobs of determined students marching in the streets of the…

Six Things I Appreciate About Life In West Africa (Mali)

There are so many amazing things about  living in Africa and Mali in particular. 1. Local Food Within Walking Distance. We run out of eggs, and all we have to do is walk down our stairs and within 50 feet are cubical stores and we can buy a tray of 24 eggs right there. We…

Médecins sans Frontières Needles Our Risk Avoiding Humanitarian Spirit.

According to Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), We keep doing the easy jobs and going to the easy places. Médecins sans Frontières created quite a stir in the international humanitarian discourse recently over their article “Where is Everyone?“.  The report, lamenting the scarcity of humanitarian agencies operating in most difficult environments….. This link opens a pdf…