life for the past week has been full of scattered instants in between classes and meetings and trips.
one of your many jobs in mali is to be a liaison.
there are organizations. ngos. in cities with nice offices.
one, in particular, is ICRISAT – the international crops research institute for the semi-arid tropics.
there are people. in areas that only a bicycle can reach.
how are they to interact with each other?
with english, french, and bambara, you’ll connect the groups that need each other.
you’ll get to know your community and its needs as well as the many organizations that can help it but don’t have access – except for you.
you’ve always loved combinations. and now, you will soon begin to explore a combination that will empower people to help themselves.
soon. not yet, as you’re still culturally adjusting for these first few months.
mentally. emotionally. physically. the stomach is not quite a happy story, but the hair is – kunsigi digi, or hair braiding, is.
dinners here are never around a table. instead they are around a fire with flashlights pinched between the neck and shoulder.
but they are still around. and that is most important.
the story of this photo – the day your malian family discovered jaba rings – will be told another day.
lots of yeleing, or laughing, happens with your host family. mostly at you as you do many things they can’t understand.
such as how you like to make photos of millet.
because what they really want are photos of them. of people. of faces.
maybe – just maybe – gradually you do too.
your photography is changing. maybe.
you haven’t decided yet. normally you don’t care to make photos of people you aren’t close to. it doesn’t mean you don’t admire photographers who make portraits of strangers – it just wasn’t your style.
but the enthusiasm you see when your camera is out – you can’t resist it. you can’t say no. you can’t not make a photo when someone really wants to be photographed.
an bena ye. we’ll see. on verra.
your favorite. surprising, it is not receiving mail and packages. seeing familiar handwriting was the instant that made you happiest.