We never truly know when our last day in Africa might be. I have seen the end come as a surprise to so many people who love this place. I want my very last day in Africa to be a surprise too, I don’t want to see the end, know when it is arriving, nor do I wish to plan how it unfolds. Unlike most people, I do not wish the end to come on my terms. Surprise me.
Well how melancholy is that?
In fact, we to “plan” to return to Mali, West Africa, each year. But I never really know my true last day.
Some of my friends reading this story have had unintended last days. The last day came as a stress relief for some, a broken heart for others.
Al-Qaeda, and four other jihadist groups are active here, and the intentional force seems incapable of policing even the major towns in the north. Westerners are prime soft targets right now also, with Humanitarian AID and NGO workers on the top of the list.
All it takes to prevent our return is a political turnaround, a little more kidnapping effort. Or something as simple as a local Malian government official, policeman, a military Gendarme at a road stop, who is pissed off because you have refused to kissed his ass enough. Or a local person who hates westerners make some fake little accusation to the justice about you, or your work, and all of a sudden your VISA is rejected.
An unexpected medical diagnosis in Canada, a sickness, financial issues, business struggles, a divorce (not planning one), marriage struggles. The issue that causes “OUR” last day may not even be our own issue. It could be that of our marriage partner, or sourced from our extended family.
My issue, our issue, your issue, their issue, it does not matter, any unforeseen issue in the stroke of a wand that could end a life time of dreams for Africa.
So, even though we had a busy week, I promised myself that I would take time to squeeze out every last experience, sight, and sound I can manage to extract from Mali before leaving. Why would we live any different in Canada?
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Pavese
Therefore, late in the day, my wife and I hopped on the Motorcycle and headed west toward the Burkina Faso border, to the small waterfalls by Farako. It was a pleasant trip under the heavy laden harmattan sky. The sun was barely visible at times through the Sahara dust, but it was still very hot. It was an delightful 29 km run to the Waterfalls with the hot parched wind blowing through our hair on our helmet-less heads.
We sat on the rocks, walked the rocks, looked at the rocks, touched the stones with our hands, and talked about the rocks. We did the same with the water. We sat quiet listening to the water, watching the water, taking pictures of the water. It was a wonderful memory made with Lynn. There are many days I will not remember in Africa, but this moment I will. Let me tell the story in pictures.