Notes from Bamako
When I was a columnist for the UMass Daily Collegian I got to write one edition of “Notes from The Campus Center Basement. I’m going to write this post in that style.
No house in Bamako smelled better when I got home tonight. Eduardo has been cooking delicious feasts a few nights a week. I was hoping to get down to fighting weight while I was here, but not so with Eduardo’s delicious meals.
I got a slight sunburn on my neck today and I have a line from the strap of the thing around my neck that holds my passport and cash.
If you’re a thief in Bamako, I was kidding about carrying around my cash and passport.
This place is really loud. African talk radio blares in cabs. Dudes selling ice cream honk bike horns. People talk really loud. The cars are crazy loud. The kids are loud. When I lay down to bed at night my ears ring like I have just left a concert.
I’ve got a crew of two or three 7 and 8 year old girls that have crushes on me. It reminds me of being back at Perry Lane. Today they tried to give me some keys and a thing they had been chewing on. I refused both.
The mural is officially done.
The mural dedication is tomorrow.
Eduardo had to flip one woman’s head around today. One doctor at the clinic said she should be looking at the food she was eating. They said people don’t talk when they eat. I’ve witnessed several meals and people gab away. I think maybe the ideal custom is to not talk while eating.
One scene in the mural is based around a pregnant woman going to the clinic. She is being helped by a woman with carrots balanced on her head. The same doctor was worried the scene was sending the message that pregnant women only eat carrots. Eduardo fought that one and made no changes. I thought he could’ve at least added some turnips.
We get called Toubabou because we’re pale skin. When I get back to the states I am going to turn this into a product line. Toubab Chew Chewing Tobacco, Toubab Glue, Toubab Moo Milk, etc.
I shot today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The heat was pretty intense and the kids were all up on me. I am really beat. I listened to a couple hours of This American Life while I was shooting and also Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks.
After dark, a crowd of about 20 watched telenovelas at the clinic.
I miss my wife. She’s only been a wife for 5 months, but she already belongs in the Spouse Hall of Fame. She has been unbelievably supportive of this project and On The Wing. I would not be who I am without her. I hope there are more of these adventures in my future, but I also hope she can come along next time.
The taxis here are in unbelievably bad shape. It’s hard to believe they run at all. The wouldn’t pass inspection in Florida. Actually I don’t think they have inspections there, but either way these cars are terrible. I was in the front seat of one yesterday that actually had a working seat belt so I decided to use it. When I got out of the car my shirt was completely filthy.
For those of you who have been to Bonnaroo and Phish festivals, this city is basically like a big one of those. People sell questionable food on the street. There are people walking everywhere in sandals and bare feet. Some people wear some crazy get ups and others look kind of nice. There are some funky smells wafting through the air. It’s hot.
I miss my dog.
The mural is an inspiring work. It’s vibrant and fun to look at. It is unanimously loved and the kids can’t help but put their hands all over it once the painters are gone.
That’s all I got. I’m seriously beat.
Photos from today.