All posts tagged: rural West Africa

on togetherness

Been considering the union of people, together. and the union of the self’s many parts, together. On getting it together, on having it together, on what It could be, and why It is apart in the first place. I don’t think Together means order, or simplicity, or rightness. Together means all the parts and pieces–all the elements–are live and in color. they inhabit the same space, the same person, though they’re probably not cohesive, nor pristine, nor even in the proper order. Together can be funky; it can even be ugly. But having It Together means everybody’s present and awake–every character flaw, every failure, each grace and potential. And getting it together means that our motley crew of faults and best intentions start heading in the same direction, and doing it on purpose. Togetherness isn’t an elusive, static perfection. It’s a raucous and colorful ensemble, maybe a bit ragtag, and it carries the promise of a messy, forward march in good company. Tinkele Village, south of Bamako

on meetings

Last week we had an important, VIP-level meeting. The kind for which preparations are endless, and staff wrings its collective hands, and fingers are crossed that it goes off well. Fortunately, we had two advantages right off the bat: this Very Important Meeting was held under a most perfect tree (a good omen), and the welcoming committee was enthusiastic: Thus the meeting commenced in great form and style, with a masterful emcee. And it continued with a walk to see Important Things. Admittedly, a long walk. And a very hot one, under an African sun. Maybe a little too long. But there was a point, and there were no complaints. No whiners in this bunch. They were on Official Business. So we continued. This was the point: And after many questions and inspections, even the skeptics were convinced. And thus the meeting was a resounding, if sweaty, success.