Meditation on Mali

Artist profile 2016. Stay tuned for 2017!

Kate was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, where she was exposed to a new culture, language, religion, lifestyle, and cuisine. The experienced lived up to Peace Corps’ motto “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” She loved everyday. Except, she didn’t love the days where she was hot, tired, hungry, sick, lonely, sad, or confused. She kept a journal and at the end of everyday, included an asterisk and noted something good that happened that day. Many of those asterisks were about tea. Drinking tea, whether in the middle of a sandy field with dunes as far as the eye can see, or in the middle of a busy marketplace, tea time is a time to relax.

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In her folder, it was customary to bring one serving of tea and sugar when you visit a neighbor. Hot coals are always available, nestled under a pot of simmering sauce. There isn’t an obligation to talk. You can sit and stare into space. Tea time is when Kate practiced and learned the language. It’s how she learned village politics. And, ultimately, it’s how she met the man she married.

When he was six, Kate’s son learned to make tea, under the tutelage of his Malian grandparents. The daily ritual of tea with friends is one of Kate’s favorite memories and a reminder to unwind.

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Artist: Kate Joyce




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