Moving to Mali has come with some major lifetime highs and some personal lows. I am loving the journey of self discovery, but sometimes I don’t like the person that I see when we draw back the curtain.
I have discovered more about myself in the last two years than I would have ever imagined. I am learning more about what makes me tick, I am learning what situations I tend to thrive in, what situations I tend to drown in, and I learning how to be me when all the familiarities of home are stripped away.
But I have also seen aspects of myself that I know I need to do better. I get beyond frustrated (but actually angry) at simple that simply boil down to me not getting my own way. I have started assuming that the average man is a threat and someone to be defensive against instead of seeing each individual for themselves. I have seen avoidance behaviours when I feel over stimulated and just don’t want to deal with one more thing. I choose to work too much sometimes, and to waste my time doing things that aren’t enriching but merely passing the time. And these are the parts of my own self care that I could do so much better.
Often Mali feels like a place where everything is harder than it needs to be. And yet, it is my choice to stay here and live in this context. I am solely responsible for choosing to do the type of work I do, in the context I live in, and ultimately the choices that make things like transport or home comforts. But the reality is, I am building something that is taking shape and having an impact of rural farmers and Malian professionals. And I am learning still. The bottom line is Mali is intoxicating. And while I know that eventually my time in Mali needs to come to a close so I can discover new aspects of myself and the world – I am ultimately grateful for the opportunity to live in a place that is such a blessing and a curse all mixed up in a tangled ball.