How Traveling in Central Asia Prepared Me for West Africa


If you’ve been following along for a while, you may recall I was a bit nervous for my trip to Mali and Burkina Faso in West Africa in November. Not only had I never previously […]

Crossing the Border from Mali to Burkina Faso

Burkina stamp

Border crossings always make me a little nervous. I was pulled aside and questioned going from Moldova to Ukraine, fought past dozens of pushy Uzbek women going from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan and was worried I […]

The Pottery Village of Kalabougou

pottery making

It was late afternoon by the time our pirogue pulled up on the banks of the village of Kalabougou. Located on the left side of the Niger River, it was less than an hour’s ride […]

Celebrating Thanksgiving in Mali

Bamako mosque

I don’t often spend Thanksgiving at home. Past Turkey Days have seen me drinking pisco sours in Cusco, eating pizza in Rome and sampling questionable Mexican cuisine in Irkutsk. But I’m not sure any of […]

What Happens When You Return Home After Visiting an Ebola-Infected Country

Ebola billboard

I knew what I was getting into when I left. Just days before I got on the plan to Bamako, Mali, authorities ordered enhanced screening procedures for travelers returning from the West African nation due […]

A New School for Folona

Folona women

After the amazing reception I experienced in Menie, I thought I knew what to expect when I arrived in Folona the next day to visit the Passports with Purpose/buildOn school there. I thought wrong. Folona […]

Trying to Put My Time in West Africa Into Words

Niger sunset

Every piece of clothing in my backpack seems to be covered in a layer of red, sandy dust – just like my shoes and sandals and backpack and camera and pretty much everything else I […]