Let me start with the disclaimer that, I know this may not be the most creative or artistic photo. Even when I compare it to some of my other photos, it's nothing too special, and it's even a bit blurry - the shame. But sometimes, I post a photo not because of its beauty, but because of the role it plays in the larger narrative.
If you want to know what it's like to travel in Mali, you have to see not just the beautiful portraits of friendly children or the landscapes accented with buildings made of mud. This is the reality of life. It might look like a a breeding ground for E. coli and any other food-borne bacteria and illnesses you can think of, and you're probably right.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit concerned when my guide stopped here to pick up some meat for our trip on the Niger river that day. This photo was taken at 9am. We'd be eating it for lunch some 3.5 hours later. Did I mention how rare refrigeration is in Mali? Let alone, this wasn't exactly going to be sitting in a cooler that whole time (fat lot of good it would probably do anyways).
So yes, we bought some meat here, and several hours later, I ate it. I survived, yes, although it still felt a bit like playing Russian Roulette with bacteria. My advice? Make sure you have some Cipro with you just in case. Always useful to have when traveling in undeveloped countries.