Living in Mali or Going to Summer Camp

Sometimes living in Mali feels like life at summer camp. At camp, you move into a cabin, pick your bunk, are told to not leave camp property (no matter how cool or lame it is) with the same people (no matter how cool or lame they are). You arrive at camp and are thrown in with a mixed bag of people who become your best friends, worst enemies, and even worse frenemies (I am assuming you are a 13 year old girl in this scenario).

Mali’s not all that different. I showed up, picked my house, am on limited movement because of security, and interact with a limited number of people who share my culture (or some variation thereof). We live, work, and play together, and it makes for quite the scene.

Like camp, Mali is a rollercoaster that is hard to stop riding because of the adrenaline of life here. You are simultaneously so afraid and so exhilarated by the reasons your here and the experiences you have. Friendships are formed fast and strong, your interactions with others and the world feel stronger and more extreme, and your emotions are literally all over the place. You live fast and furious, you care to new levels about the world and the people around you, you fight with all your might. Through it all though you know that come hell or high water this place is changing you – and you will be better for it.


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