Anne-Marie and Blessing head up BCU (Banku Crushers United). I was a provisional member until word got out that I don’t actually eat Banku. In the world of dense heavy starches, I prefer fufu. Thankfully, I was not banished entirely from the girls’ company. Anne-Marie and Blessing. Reliable checkers opponents and dedicated camel drawing students. One afternoon, after destroying miles of bubble wrap, we threw paper airplanes around the courtyard of the family compound. Several of these planes sailed over the eastern wall, into the open-air kitchen of the next-door chophouse. Someone probably ate the debris in their groundnut stew. One night, there was a neighborhood power outage, so we cranked up the cell phone speakers to volume 11 and danced to Nana Boroo.
I will be staying at the Yas Family Guesthouse in some small small weeks, returning after a year away. I wonder what it will feel like when I walk into that courtyard.
Ghana. Then Cote d’Ivoire. Then Mali. This is not really travel anymore. It’s a living situation. The supplemental pages in my passport are almost filled, most of them occupied by a repeating array of West African stamps and visas. When I quit my job to travel, I thought I would land on a few different continents. But sometimes you go somewhere and that place takes you somewhere else. I will always be an outsider in this part of the world, but friends, projects and collaborations make it somewhat familiar.
I do plan on visiting some unfamiliar lands, probably around spring, after the elections in Mali, when the Sahel turns into a true furnace (because of the season .. not the elections). A Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia trip will happen at some point. Some altogether different destinations are also a good possibility in 2012. “Free to move around” (on couches in the first world and apartments in the third) is my motto right now. Going to be somewhere/doing something interesting next year? Let me know about it. I just might come check it out.
More updates, plans and ideas to come..