On The Edge Of Night


The edge of evening, where good things grow.

It’s one of those transitional days. The day I pack my office, shut down the internet, pack the router and communication equipment, back up my files, shut the laptop down, remove its battery, cover the desk with plastic. But one last thing- This is the last story I will type on this computer for this term.

I experienced one of my last trips to the bush on the Motorcycle today.

The Edge of health. I get tired of seeing some things. I was among a family with two of their children’s bellies so grossly extended, so almost impossibly bloated under their rib cages, that it looked as if they swallowed beach balls, or had been pumped up with air by a tire pump. They looked so obviously abnormal. Bloated with worms. I am no medical doctor, but there is no need of this.

I asked the ladies in the court if the other children walking around here right now had bellies that looked as grossly bloated like these two?

“No” was their reply.  20160207_165422-01-01.jpeg

So I asked the family why they thought their children’s bellies were like that? They said they did not know. I said it might be wise to find out. But I expressed that I thought they were full of worms and that it did not matter how much you feed them, they will not grow or be healthy, you are feeding worms.

Worm medicines are pennies here.  But it is not my place to interfere, though I had to comment. But I’m not a doctor.

This is me on the edge of a village heading home as the sun goes down. I stopped in what was corn fields during the short rainy season, a distant seven months ago. I follow the small trails through and around such sights almost every day.


On the edge of my heat comfort. It was 35 in the shade all afternoon, a good day for a redhead to cover up in the sun. My skin was frying, so I was covered up in my turban most of the afternoon.


I stopped at the edge  of Sikasso,  on the edge of a small mountain, at the Edge of Night . (see my cover Photo)

At 6:10 women were still screening hand chopped and shoveled gravel, which they sell to construction workers for making cement. What a difficult way to make a living. But there they were, on the edge of the mountain, trying to survive on the edge of poverty.  There were probably seventy five or more people stretched out before my eyes in the distance screening until the edge of dark.

If you zoom in on the crest of that hill, you might see the heads of people and the piles of gravel they make to sell. I zoomed and enhanced the photo a little, so you could see the workers.

Yet, I have to squeeze one more day in the gardens. Yes I am crazy. Scheduled a 29 km bush trip for our last day here, just before we lock the doors. I will drive out to the remote village tomorrow, and as soon as I return I will need to immediately have the motorcycle washed, and then carried up stairs (with a horde of helpers) to be stored inside. Then, lock the door. My last action as The Invisible Humanitarian for this term.

From the edge of Mali’s borders, to the center of the country, Bamako. We will decompress in Bamako before we fly out.

On the edge of being back in Canada. Back to snow, the fishing boat, the sea, lobster trap building, and net repairs. But also to sons, and daughter-in- law, grandson, brothers and sisters, moms and dads, extended family and a community of people also on an interesting life journey.

This term’s work has been undertaken and accomplished in Mali. A new term is visible on the edge of the horizon. But for now, I am on the edge of laying down The Invisible Humanitarian  Cape. I am only Andy Rayner, the fisherman, again.  Truth is, I’m the same me all the time – for better or for worse.

I appreciate being away from the box systems from time to time. The closer we get to the edge of the west,  the closer we come to those holds, grasps, and clutches of western Institutions. The ones that scream for us to settle down and serve it.  I hope I never completely buy into that again.

But I’m more content to just live, enjoy and experience the people and places I find myself now. I am no longer trying to prove anything to anyone. I am not asking for any person’s permission, or approval anymore. There is only one I seek approval from.

About time – I’m 3/4 of the way to the edge of being dead.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Crystal McDormand says:

    I guess I’m selfish. I’m glad you two are on your way home and so thankful our God had kept you safe thus far. I’m sure He will continue to do so. Take care my friends.


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