on a last look

bamako: city of dust, city of bougainvillea. the friends who turn out to be heroes; the ones we break bread with who nourish our own hearts; the colleagues who become family; the neighbors who anchor our days; the greetings that never end; the showers that bring relief, both from dirt and sweat as well as from anxiety over the…

on a taxi, and being cheerful

there are moments in life when good cheer is at a deficit. it’s no one’s fault, but you’ve looked under the cushions, in the back of the refrigerator, you’ve peeked into the neighbor’s yard and interrogated the donkey lazing on the corner, and you simply haven’t come upon any good cheer. not to worry. there…

on shopping at the friperie

  we hunted. we hunted for clothes, for shoes, for things we didn’t know we needed. we were on a mission to stay focused in the whirlwind of fabric and colors that is the friperie market of Bamako. i followed the leader, the expert, the one who knew how to best communicate with the Boutiquier Masters of…

what’s to eat

  Prelude to a filling lunch, and much beloved in Bamako: Vietnamese nem, seasoned and ground beef and onions wrapped in a fried, crispy rice paper. Here’s the low-down on nem.

on houses

what’s your house like ? not the one that keeps you out of the rain, but the one to which you retreat when times are tough. the house you built from bones, and shards of glass, and pockets of generosity, and life’s gifts. the house you carry with you, like the tortoise you were meant to…

on lately

 lately: happy birthdays (and deflated meringues) in broken German; drinks of various strengths, and art hanging in Malian galleries; the regular, every day living that keeps the gears oiled; a variety of welcomes ; zoo trips for kids and grown-ups alike; and a mask for every mood. Bamako’s National Zoo is worth a trip! Inexpensive entry…