RIP: New York Times Front Page Podcast
End April 9 Column

Mali Journal

M older daughter, M, is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, where they just had a coup. She checks in on March 26:

So, we remain consolidated. The borders opened up this morning, so I hear, and the airport is opening up today with the first commercial flights going out this evening. There's some big meeting in Abidjan where regional leaders are going to make some demands of the junta as preconditions to normalized relations. The AU (African Union) has condemned the coup along with everyone else.

Everything here in Sikasso remains calm. It sounds like things have calmed down in Bamako as well. No gunfire anymore, and the cars that were earlier taken by marauding soldiers have actually been returned to their owners. The banks and post office are open today.

We've only been in Sikasso for three days, but there's a lot of people and not much space. As long as the power stays good (it did go off for about 8 hours last night) people can retreat into their personal laptops, but when it goes off people have to look up.

We've had two very nice team dinners though. The night before last was pad Thai and spring rolls, and last night it was breakfast for dinner (eggs, pancakes, and hash browns).

At least since we're allowed to leave the house, everyone tends to go out at least once a day for a walk down to the market. Yesterday I ended up buying fabric (alarm clocks, military, and education themed). We also watched Beauty and the Beast together after the power went out, but M's computer's battery died right as the Beast was transforming into a ... what? Now I'll never know. I spent all morning yesterday here in the back bedroom typing up my journal and watching episodes of Mob Wives while eating granola (surprisingly good) from the Tubab [foreigners'] store. In the afternoon we played Boggle. Today will probably look exactly the same.

[Consolidation has been lifted, but for security reasons, Peace Corps has asked that posted details be left vague. And so they shall, for now]

One good thing is that it rained last night, which cooled everything off. It actually rained well into this morning, and it is still cloudy now. It pretty much has to burn off this afternoon though, because two cloudy days would be unprecedented for this time of year. Normally the mango rains are just quick bursts of storms, not lingering affairs.

Maybe we'll play Trivial Pursuit today instead of Boggle. Or maybe both. We'll see what happens with the power.

Basically, I'm fine. I'm still anxious, but I have media to watch, books to read, friends to play games with, plenty of food and soda, and even recreational shopping if I don't spend too much time thinking about the fact that I might not get to bring what I buy back with me.