Monday, July 21
Kayes, Mali

(UPDATE: See previous post on crossing the Mali border. I added photos.)

It happened again!

Another mother today dragged her screaming child toward me, forcing the toddler to get close to the toubab (white person). The mom thought it was funny that her little girl was scared of me.

It’s like when parents in the States bring their small children to the mall to see Santa Claus, and the kids are terrified of Santa. Only I’m Santa! The scary girl with the white skin.

Nearly a month ago, I swam in the Senegal River near where it meets the ocean in northern Senegal. In Kayes today, I saw the other end of the same river!

I wouldn’t dare swim in it here; it’s visibly dirty, with residents bathing and washing clothes near the shore. A friend of mine, Meg, who served in Mali in the Peace Corps recently, reported she got schisto from swimming in Kayes. So here I am standing on a bridge over the water instead:

Hanging near the Senegal River in Kayes, Mali

Hanging near the Senegal River in Kayes, Mali

The hat is incredibly fashionable, right? I bought it in Kaolack, Senegal, as a shield from the fierce African sun.