Skip to main content

Dateline Bamako

Muffin and I have arrived in Bamako, Mali, finally reuniting with Mike. He’s been here since April. He came home for a couple weeks in June, then returned, while we stayed back to do the pack-out and enjoy a little bit of Rhode Island summer vacation. We left Rhode Island last Thursday and about twenty-four hours later we landed in Bamako, tired and a little crabby but thrilled to be together as a family again.

Muffin is still adjusting, but she’s doing well. This time of year the time difference with the East Coast is only four hours and we’ve been able to manage our time well so far. I expect both of us to crash and burn any day now, though, as the excitement of travel wears off and the reality if living here sinks in, probably shortly after Mike leaves for work tomorrow and I’m faced with a full day on my own with Muffin. I feel pretty comfortable there, though, more so than I did in India. And after living in Burundi, Mali isn’t nearly as shocking. My French comprehension kicked in as soon as we got off the plane in Paris and I’ve understood just about everything that’s been said to me. I’ve even made a handful of successful transactions in stores and restaurants. We’ve walked around the neighborhood and I can find the homes of some other Americans with children about Muffin’s age, plus a snack shop and a pharmacy.

This is Africa, where the tonic water glows blue in the light of the bug zapper and the best meal at most restaurants is a brouchette with fries and a Fanta. I feel at home.


Beth said…
Looking forward to hearing more about your adventure! Glad you are safe and sound!

Popular posts from this blog

The Acid Bug

My blog will now join the short list of results that pop up when you search for "nairobi fly, acid bug" on Google. Mike was hit by one over the weekend.
The Nairobi fly is a small beetle that does not bite or sting, but based on its nickname acid bug, guess what it does? The insides of the bug are toxic, and if you smack it against your skin the juices cause a burning rash. They are common throughout East and Central Africa, and it's the season for them here in Burundi. We think Mike and his friend rode through a swarm of them on their bikes over the weekend, because his friend has some burn spots, too, and the spots appeared on both of them after they returned from the ride.
We've heard of two remedies to soothe the burning, but Mike hasn't tried either yet. One is to use toothpaste, the old-school white kind, and the other is to cut a potato and rub it on the burn area. Both the toothpaste and the potato are supposed to draw out the acid. If you wash the area imm…

What Goes Through My Head When I Lock My Door

When I'm alone in our apartment, or alone with Muffin, I lock the deadbolt, day and night. Here is my thought process:

I'm walking down the hallway toward my door. I nod "Hello" in a neighborly way to a man also walking down the hall. I enter my apartment (having had my key ready since I first got into the elevator because women are conditioned from an early age not to be fumbling for their keys in an area where the distraction of doing so might make them vulnerable to an attack) and close the door. I put my hand on the deadbolt but I don't turn it right away.

What if the guy who just walked by thinks I'm locking it because I'm afraid of him? 

It's not about him specifically, though, it's about being a woman alone in an apartment building. 

So what if he's offended? 

It's none of his business if I lock my door or not, unless he was planning to enter the apartment, in which case fuck him, I did the right thing by locking the door.

I'm a nar…

Book Review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

After you've read something, please consider leaving a line or two on Goodreads and Amazon. The authors appreciate it!

Here's my review as it appears on Goodreads.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this book in the beginning. I grew up in an old haunted house in New England, yet I'm always a skeptic. (99% of supernatural activity ends up being the wind or a cat — and cats are creepy as hell.) I liked reading the stories behind the stories, whether they debunked the legends or gave credence to them. I’ve always been interested in history and nonfiction and ghost stories are the old “fake news.” Entertaining but you shouldn’t necessarily take them at face value. As the book went on, I found the stories themselves no less interesting but the format became tedious.

A couple of the stories really stood out to me. There are many cases of ghost stories being used to control a narrative that makes people feel sa…