About this Site
My name is Phil Paoletta. Formerly a middle school teacher in Washington, DC, I am now a camel drawing consultant based in West Africa.
I originally traveled to West Africa (specifically, Ghana) because I liked highlife music. Once I got there, I found other things — groundnut stew, Twi, mapouka (the dance and the alcohol), orange-headed lizards — that I also liked. In 2010, I quit my job to return to Ghana and to visit other countries in the region.
I now find myself based here (most often in Abidjan and Bamako) for most of the year, making money with web work, freelance writing and a burgeoning restaurant/catering business I am running with two Ivorian friends in Abidjan.
Other things: I make music, like this, and art, like this. I will play settlers of catan anywhere. One of my best friends is a camel named Clyde who lives in Arizona.
I love travel, but specifically slow travel. I prefer sitting in a bar to visiting a museum (apparently this guy Paulo Coelho reads my blog). I can sit on a front porch, listening to music, boozing and playing dominos, for days. I like learning new languages and new dances.
This website is a space for me to report on my wanderings, but it’s also a portal for videos and photos, and music I’m working on as well as listening to. I also spend some amount of time challenging perceptions of West Africa and Africa in general. See: this and this.
See you somewhere – Phil