"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Memories of an African trip

In Mali, playing with happy kids, seven years ago
Yellow fever shots. Malaria pills.
Africa.
How can you not love kids
Seven years ago this month, I was preparing for a trip of a lifetime.
Thanks to a former student at OSU, now Dr. Shelly Pepper Sitton of the OSU Ag Com Department, I joined a group of journalists on a week-long trip to Mali. It was a State Department-funded trip to help bolster the media in that poor, West African country, a rare democracy and friend of America in the Muslim world. I went along as the newspaper journalist.
Perhaps it didn't work, because since then there has been a military coup, and an uprising in the Saharan north that split the country. If the French hadn't intervened, Al-Qaeda might have the entire country now. Of course, what prompted much of the turmoil was the overthrow of Libya's Gaddafi to the north, destabilizing the entire region. But we were not concerned with politics when there, and welcomed by people where ever we went.
Poor but proud
Lots of miles and wrinkles since then, I still am thankful for what I experienced and learned. I would go back, if I could, so powerful was the trip.
I wrote  and photographed  extensively about it, if you want to see more photos.

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