I brought it in my big duffel bag, wrapped in clothes, hoping that the thin nylon guitar bag would somehow protect it's neck from snapping.
By the time we got to Mali, the guitar was no worse for wear. It was already old and a little beat up when we started, missing a string and out of tune.
It was Sidy's guitar. He wanted me to bring it to Mali for him so he could leave it with friends. It joined the piles of other things that inevitably make the crossing. A used PS2 game console with a FIFA soccer game. An old video camera. Some handbags and shoes. Jewelry. All of it intended as gifts.
The guitar, though, was awkward and big and the guy at the ticket counter at Air Maroc told me that if I checked it in it's soft case, it would surely get damaged. So we packed it into the big duffel bag, wrapped in clothes, and hoped for the best.
Here's what I didn't anticipate. It never occured to me that we would grow to love this guitar. That we would wait for days for a new set of strings, fashion a pick out of an old bank card, invent songs commemorating our adventures. We had no idea how much we would wish for an amp... even attempting to make one out of some spare wires and an old TV. I didn't realize that Amery would quietly play it while we had conversations late into the night... or that he would teach Noah some things on it. If I had known all those things, I would have brought a new set a strings for it... and maybe even Noah's tiny amp.
Next time we know.