Mali

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3 Flash Stories inspired by the Peace Corps experience
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Water by Rachel Schneller (Mali)
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Senegal RPCV Killed in Mali Attack
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Rachel Schneller's (Mali 1996-98) "Water"
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White
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Water
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White
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Water

3 Flash Stories inspired by the Peace Corps experience

by Jon Anderson (Gabon/Mali 1974–77) •  A Trip to Okandja Uneven plywood table. Sticky plastic tablecloth. Big bottles of Meuse. We get the cold ones. Since there is no electricity, “cold” means bottles that have been put into a bucket of water. They are maybe one degree cooler than the ones coming from the crate. We try hard to believe it makes a difference. The storm lamp on the table seems to throw more shadows than light. For a while there is no one else but me and Steve. Congolese music playing on the radio. The one armed, blue eyed bartender dozes. Our truck is parked in the darkness outside. Julienne comes in and asks about her bra. Then she asks for us to buy her a beer. But from where the truck is parked there is a sharp, bright, loud scream. Followed by “What the fuck? What the goddamn fuck? . . .

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Water by Rachel Schneller (Mali)

With all this talk of toxic water in Flint, and elsewhere, I thought of one of the loveliest pieces of writing by an RPCV that we published years ago. If you didn’t read it then, here is Rachel’s short essay. • Water Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996–98) When a woman carries water on her head, you see her neck bend outward behind her like a crossbow. Ten liters of water weighs twenty-two pounds, a fifth of a woman’s body weight, and I’ve seen women carry at least twenty liters in aluminum pots large enough to hold a television set. To get the water from the cement floor surrounding the outdoor hand pump to the top of your head, you need help from the other women. You and another woman grab the pot’s edges and lift it straight up between you. When you get it to head height, you duck underneath the . . .

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Senegal RPCV Killed in Mali Attack

U.S. Victim of Mali Attack Worked on Women’s Health By LIAM STACKNOV. 20, 2015 New York Times Anita Ashok Datar, an American public health worker from the Washington suburbs, was killed Friday when gunmen attacked a luxury hotel in Mali‘s capital, Bamako, killing at least 19 people and taking as many as 100 more hostage. She is the only American known to have died in the attack, according to United Nations officials. Ms. Datar, who lived in Takoma Park, Md., loved the fiction of Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith and was the mother of a young son, Rohan. Her Facebook page has pictures of the two of them together during a series of family milestones: vacations, Halloween and the first day of school. In a statement released Friday, her family said that of all her accomplishments, Ms. Datar was most proud of him. “We are devastated that Anita is gone – it’s unbelievable to . . .

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Rachel Schneller's (Mali 1996-98) "Water"

This lovely piece is by a very fine writer, Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996-98). She recreates a scene many of us have marveled at during our Peace Corps years. Water When a woman carries water on her head, you see her neck bend outward behind her like a crossbow. Ten liters of water weights twenty-two pounds, a fifth of a woman’s body weight, and I’ve seen women carry at least twenty liters in aluminum pots large enough to hold a television set. To get the water from the cement floor surrounding the outdoor hand pump to the top of your head, you need help from the other women. You and another woman grab the pot’s edges and lift it straight up between you. When you get it to the head height, you duck underneath the pot and place it on the wad of rolled-up cloth you always wear there when fetching . . .

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White

by Lynn Marshall (Mali 1997–99) This essay was the 1999 Moritz Thomsen Award winner. • YESTERDAY, I ATTENDED MY FIRST FUNERAL. I wore white and so did the corpse. The body was wrapped in a heavy, white cloth and placed under a mango tree, surrounded by dozens of old women with missing teeth, gray hair, and skin as dry as coconut shells. The old ladies wore mismatched swatches of bright print fabric. Over a hundred people had gathered in the concession, and sat cross-legged on long, colorful rectangular mats. They paid their respects by playing cards, smoking Marlboros and drinking tea. As I toured the concession, I felt hundreds of eyes on me. Trying to convince myself that I was not out of place, I casually made my way over to the body. A group of women standing guard over the body immediately surrounded me. One woman gestured that I . . .

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Water

by Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996-98) This essay was the 1998 Moritz Thomsen Award winner. • WHEN A WOMAN CARRIES WATER on her head, you see her neck bend outward behind her like a crossbow. Ten liters of water weighs twenty-two pounds, a fifth of a woman’s body weight, and I’ve seen women carry at least twenty liters in aluminum pots large enough to hold a television set. To get the water from the cement floor surrounding the outdoor hand pump to the top of your head, you need help from the other women. You and another woman grab the pot’s edges and lift it straight up between you. When you get it to head height, you duck underneath the pot and place it on the wad of rolled up cloth you always wear there when fetching water. This is the cushion between your skull and the metal pot full of . . .

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White

The following was the 1999 recipient of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award presented by Peace Corps Writers  for the best short description of life in the Peace Corps. • White by Lynn Marshall (Mali 1997– 99) YESTERDAY, I ATTENDED MY FIRST FUNERAL. I wore white and so did the corpse. The body was wrapped in a heavy, white cloth and placed under a mango tree, surrounded by dozens of old women with missing teeth, gray hair, and skin as dry as coconut shells. The old ladies wore mismatched swatches of bright print fabric. Over a hundred people had gathered in the concession, and sat cross-legged on long, colorful rectangular mats. They paid their respects by playing cards, smoking Marlboros and drinking tea. As I toured the concession, I felt hundreds of eyes on me. Trying to convince myself that I was not out of place, I casually made . . .

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Water

The following was the 1998 recipient of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award presented by Peace Corps Writers  for the best short description of life in the Peace Corps. • Water by Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996–98) WHEN A WOMAN CARRIES WATER on her head, you see her neck bend outward behind her like a crossbow. Ten liters of water weighs twenty-two pounds, a fifth of a woman’s body weight, and I’ve seen women carry at least twenty liters in aluminum pots large enough to hold a television set. To get the water from the cement floor surrounding the outdoor hand pump to the top of your head, you need help from the other women. You and another woman grab the pot’s edges and lift it straight up between you. When you get it to head height, you duck underneath the pot and place it on the wad of rolled . . .

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