Konch Magazine - Before the Elections Abidjan, Cote

Before the Elections  Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire October 2015

 
So I am not one to be afraid of much-  I mean look where I live and how! But as the elections loom I begin to ask myself, what am I doing?  What will happen? I guess one could ask one's self these questions whenever one steps out the door, but with the noise of protests and marches outside, with the history of upheaval at every election, it somehow feels a bit more real at the moment.
 
Tonight, I cancelled my dinner plans because someone sent me a protest warning. In Oakland, I might have joined the protest.
 
Perspective changes everything.  Who I am here, is not who I am at home, and yet, if you were to be a fly on the wall you would see that who I am fundamentally has not changed. I still find an African dance class, I still coach track, I still teach, I am still a mother. In every country, I am these things.
 
I can hear people out there, shouting and cars honking.  I can her the frenzy of activity on the street from the safe space that is my apartment building.  People I live with say things to me like, if they want to get in they will.  The Black woman in me wants to ask- who are they and what are you talking about.  Can you see "them" climbing our wall, over the razor wire, cutting through the screens and the bars, killing the guard? Is this what I am to imagine.  Yet, at night I have these images in my mind. Them, they climbing walls, shooting, using machetes... I have those images. They exist.
 
Tonight I will not go salsa dancing, I probably could.. I might go and come back unharmed. But there are alerts on my phone telling me not to leave my house at night for the next two weeks.  Who am I now? Am I us? Am I them?  Where do I stand as sides are being drawn. I think as an American in a foreign country, I am an island.  We are on our own together in my building.