It's strange how sometimes all we know of an entire continent is what is given to us by the media.
We only hear of war, atrocities, tragedy, famine, and epidemic disease. Where are the people in all of this? Are they lost? Do we understand that they have stories?
We were driving in the Land Cruiser, packed in cozily with that same red dust working its way into our eyebrows and our teeth. The 4x4, or quat-quat, as they say in Burkina Faso, was being given its exercise, helping us travel along roads as pocked as the surface of the moon.
Through the roar of the air outside and the laughter of the people inside, we talked.
All we have is our feeling, he told me.
Your feeling? I asked.
When we see a poor man, we think- that could be me, he said. Or if it is a rich man, we know that maybe next year we will be in his place. Everyone can put himself in the place of his brother. It is why we help each other.
Oh- like empathy. I understood.
It is all we have, he went on. We Africans, we have no power in the world, we have no product, no money, nothing. We only have our feeling.
Oh. I see this feeling. You treat every man like a brother.
If it is taken away we will have nothing. It seems that people want to take this away- I don't know why... He shrugs, hands out. I don't know why. But we can't lose it, or we will have nothing.