Mel Bailey

Mel Bailey

@AfricaRizing journalist. Digital media specialist @VOA_News in #Dakar Formerly @NBCNews, @NYU Alumna mes tweets n'engage que moi

The weirdest place I’ve ever been, and why I loved it

From the road, Kayes is the first city outside Senegal in neighboring Mali. It’s 12 hours north east of Bamako and 16 to 25 hours from Dakar, depending on whether the fruit sellers who board the public transport every other village actually get off. The dry, gritty red earth kicked up by the backs of sandals and motorbike tires gives the entire place an airbrushed effect. The city is divided in two by the Senegal river but Kayes is really a region spanning 28 communes.

Risks and rewards of bagged water in West Africa

Large trucks and buses roll through the only paved road connecting Dakar to Bamako, transporting passengers and merchandise to villages along the way. Every 50 kilometers or so, those trucks and buses stop – drawing women and children out from behind their red earth covered tables and roadside stands carrying bags of water in a bowl on their heads. In most of these towns, these bags of water are the only way to keep people safely hydrated since potable water is not common.