I feel it's only fitting to post some pictures from my time there. While I am worried (really, really worried), I also don't want to perpetuate this idea of the constantly fighting "Africa." I've had so many people assume that "Africa" (as if it were one country of super similar folks) is always war-torn, is always unhappy. "Africa" is not all war-torn, though there are wars that flare up in some African countries, to be sure. My experience has been with two African nations: Tunisia and Mali. They have recently been in the news for revolutions and uprisings, but there's a lot of good there. Mali is the most welcoming place I've ever been to, with some of the happiest people I've ever met. I did not spend my time there frightened. I instead taught fourth graders the days of the week, learned to dance from the ninth grade girls, and had hard conversations about school for women, female circumcision, and the problematic side of development. I do not claim to be an expert on Mali, nor do I claim to have the full experience; as a light-skinned foreigner, there are things I will never understand or experience there. But, I do stand by what I've said about the danger of painting all African nations as broken and conflict-riddled. As Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie said, "There is danger in a single story."
Presidents Barack Obama and Amadou Toumani Toure, at our school
one of the best nights of my life; everyone came together for a big party in the street
princess deja, a diva if I've ever met one
my favorite student ever, Ousmane!
my fourth grade class
Henrik and Segou, his co-teacher
my favorite ladies, Hawa and Moussodjie
my co-teachers! the dream team! Aliou and Issac :)
yobi, my ever patient instructor who gave me his sandals when my feet got bloody walking in Dogon country
my ninth graders
getting ready to dance! :D