Sometimes I think I am crazy for living in Bamako. It is stressful, and congested, and difficult, and dirty. It has a cumulative total of (seemingly) 8 paved roads, and a patriarchal system that I have dedicated my whole life to overturning and rejecting. The waves of people coming and going can be exhausting and sometimes Bamako can feel so lonely it is hard to gain any perspective at all.
Yet, I stay. and when I think about packing up shop and heading home I can’t help but feel compelled to stay – to continue trying and living in a world that forces me to face my own “otherness.” I attempt social interactions that lead me to stretch into unknown territories, force me to grow, and learn how to stand more on my own two feet.
I say no to the constant belittling of me because I am a woman. I say no to the racial treatment that puts white faces on pedestals or under foot based on previous experience. I say no to littering because there is no reliable trash system. And I say no to giving up just because Mali is hard sometimes.