You Give, and Give and Give ………

“I usually joke about my years spent in a West African village, as if they were simply a sweaty, stinky, rat eating, tummy cramping adventure, as if Africa and the villagers hadn’t given their homes, their laughter, their grooves, their children, their food, their lives, as if they hadn’t given and given and given their…

The Waifs Were Invited In

Acceptable Christmas Rebellion. It is Christmas morning in Mali. I have not been to church for a Christmas service for some years now. That makes me a pagan in the minds of some. However, my faith is intact, and lived out with others, as is needed. I simply have avoided box church, so far, for…

A Visual African Travel Story

This is not a story about broad adventures across the continent. I don’t have any. But I do know the remote paths of the back bush where I work. Let me share some of the scenes seen on my trip to the village. My crappy writing can not do it justice. But this is how…

Sometimes You Cry in Africa

I read a paragraph in “Living Poor”, that has stuck with me. “The incapacity of the poor to see the pattern of their lives is occasionally breached. I took a color photograph of Wai and his family standing in front of their house, and when the people of the town saw it, it had the…

And When Your Hair is Grey – Get Your Ass Overseas (Part#2)

The other day, I had an expat family drop by on the way to Bamako. I know their family had just decorated their place for Christmas, as I saw their beautiful pictures on FaceBook.  When they arrived we were all chatting, but outside my office door one of the kids excitedly asked, “Do you have…

When Your Eyes Are Old – Fishing Old (Part 1)

Something rather atypical has sparked a contemplation of my elderly-ness. You would not believe what I have been doing in the evenings here in Mali, West Africa, after I take the Invisible Humanitarian cape off.  This picture summarizes it…. I have been making eel nets. Well, been trying to. The evenings are long here, with…

Sweet Elderly Africa – Riveting African Portraits

I love elderly African people.  I could sit and chat with them for hours, or just sit there looking at them. They contain the wisdom of their people, librarians of oral history. You can see the depths of this history in the lines on their faces. I captured a few vivid images with my smartphone….

Donkey Meat, Winter Jackets, Turbans and Motorcycles

Finally, I have convinced my partner in village crime of the great benefits of getting out of town early, so that we can get our village work accomplished early, before the onset of the scorching hot afternoon sun. Amazingly, for most of our scheduled village trips, we have now been leaving  Sikasso at 5:30 AM….

Dehydration, Dust and Dirt

I have been very busy running around the Sikasso bush region building the capacity of our development work.  I have not been around our base very often, so the girl who cleans here has not been able to sweep or scrub for four days now. The dust from the harmattan has settled on everything. Would…

Reincarnated As A Chicken? Hell, No, Please!

I certainly hope that reincarnation isn’t true. In West Africa, the two worst things to return as would certainly be as a dog, or as a village chicken. With my irreverent disposition toward much of the human traditions they hold sacred, I suspect that the average christian fundamentalist would assign me to return as something…

Humanitarian Hooky

I’m sitting here in a town named Nienia. I left Sikasso at 5:30 am for a meeting here.  Well, I was suppose to be at this meeting. However, i let my Malian friend take the lead. I stopped at a roadside cafe, African style instead (See Picture), and let him conduct the meeting.  I played…