When the nurse took my temperature at the border town of Kouremale – where Mali meets Guinea – the infrared gun registered 100.4 F. She was recording temperatures next to names in a book of every person crossing into Mali from Guinea. Minutes later, the Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, would pass through, and I was reading fever.
“Funteni be,” I joked in Bambara. It's hot. I looked around at the many soldiers and customs officers wearing white masks. “Yes,” the nurse said, smiling and waving me off, “it is hot.”