COMMUNITY VOICES | Twin Cities Climate Resiliency: A Lesson from Bamako, Mali

When I walked off Air France’s stairwell onto the tarmac in Bamako, I took a deep breath in. I immediately noticed the intensity of the hot, dry air in an environment so unlike Minneapolis where I live. I recall the air having some familiarity,10 hours west of Minneapolis in the Bad Lands.   Bamako’s air tightened my skin pores to preserve the moisture retained from sucking down water and ginger ale during my night flight in.  It was hot and dry on a Tuesday Night – near 90 degrees at 10:00 p.m.  This was a “more comfortable night” for the Malians, and foreigners who made Bamako their home.  Lucky me, my feet touched the ground in late February… it was summertime. But as one woman put it, “there is summer, and then there is hell…” Come March, hell enters Bamako and remains until October.Located in the sub-Saharan region of Northern Africa, Bamako sits in the southwest part of the country and serves as Mali’s capital.  Because of its location, the notion of climate resiliency was at the forefront of my mind.  The idea of “resiliency” or “acclimation” in a changing world known to my indigenous Taino ancestors in the Americas began in 1492, introduced by the double heads of colonialism and capitalism. For indigenous peoples, this forced acclimation extends to present day.We’ve witnessed how a consolidated economy, concentrated in the hands of a very few, yields an unrelenting global military economic power achieved through colonialism. Continue Reading