I left the warm confines of Medellin to visit friends and family in suburban California... and in Starbucks WORLDS COLLIDED! Across from me was seated a beautiful woman and her two boys, little, four and six. I started playing with the youngsters and mom and I started a little chat. I mean, I am interesting, visiting from Colombia and all. I heard her slight accent, African? "So where are you from?", I asked.
I was floored. "Where?" I asked. "Ouagadougou?" Now she was floored.
Where did this guy get that? No one knows a thing about Burkina Faso!
"You heard of Burkina Faso? In my 12 years in the US you are the first!" She said.
I opened my copy of my Marisol novel, "The Lithium Desert Wars". It takes place in BURKINA FASO! I showed her the title headings dealing with her homeland.
Mouth charmingly agape, she started to beam with pride. We exchanged info about her homeland, often in the running for "Poorest Nation in the World" status.
How did I come upon Burkina and why is it central to my writing?
First, I personned the Africa desk for Chevron during my two year stint as an evil oilman. Burkina geography was important until we found no oil there.
Next, my friends in France lived in a small village in the Rhone valley which had adopted Burkina Faso informally to aid the former French West Africa by doing fundraisers and by raising the plight of the former colony into public awareness.
In my novel, without too much of a spoiler, Lithium is detected in Burkina Faso and then begins the race of the great powers to exploit it. So there you are! SYNCHRONICITY! Forty miles from San Francisco. The Upper Volta River flows through our suburban valley!