Always in the deep woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is an ancient fear of the unknown and is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. -- Wendell Berry

The TRIP: GUINEA - wonkifong --> MALI - bamako, djenne, douentza, Dogon Country --> Burkina Faso - ouagadougou, bobo-dioulasso, bala, ouagadougou --> GHANA - tamale, mole national park, tamale, yeji, volta lake ferry, akosombo, accra, green turtle lodge, elmina, cape coast, accra, hohoe and wli falls --> TOGO - kpalime, atakpame, lome --> BENIN - cotonu (transport stop) --> NIGER - niamey, tahoua, agadez, camel trek in aiir mtns, niamey --> BENIN (abomey, grand popo, ouidah, ganvie, cotonou) --> CAMEROON (douala, buea, top of Mt Cameroon, limbe, sangelima, yaounde, kribi, douala) --> MAURITANIA (nouakchott, atar, chinguetti, camels into the sahara, terjit, choume, ride the coal train, nouadhibou) --> MOROCCO (western sahara, dakhla, agadir, essaouira, marrakesh, imlil, summit of jebel toubkal, fes, chefchaouen) --> cross the Strait of Gibraltar --> Malaga, Spain --> fly to Geneva, Switzerland --> Les Grangettes, France
Click for a map. Updated April 30, 2007

vendredi, décembre 29, 2006


Mid-bite, my teeth strike a hard object sending an instant message of pain racing towards my brain. Instead of rice, my teeth chomped down on a rock. I must have missed that one as I sorted through the rice grains before preparing dinner. Even the act of eating meals needs to be pursued at a cautious rate.

It is currently the end of the rice harvest. The rains stopped during October and the fields are now beginning to dry up as the sun beats down without added precipitation. The harvests have taken some of my students away from school throughout November and December. Flat surfaces in my village are now covered with rice grains drying in the sun. Oover the past several weeks I have seen rice drying around flag poles, on the ground, on patios, even on the sides of roads – essentially anywhere that receives a lot of direct sunlight. Rocks are everywhere so while it feels like a complete surprise to strike a rock when eating, the probability of a rock or two adding itself to a sack of dried rice is high.