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Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné March 6th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI.....DJENNE.....MUD TOWN OF DREAMS... On an island in the Bani River, accessed by ferry from the riverbank to the ancient mud town of Djenne (pronounced "Jenny"), we have arrived in my destination from childhood dreams... And a mud town it still is... Each year the Mud Mosque of Djenne, the largest banco or mud building in the world, requires repair...where mud has washed off in rain...and the mud artisans show their amazing skills...and remain in employment... But concrete, some think should change that... Unlike mud (baked in the sun mixed with straw or otherwise), concrete does not degrade or wash away in rain and is stronger...so some believe concrete is better than mud... But fortunately traditions and United Nations Heritage Listing has protected Djenne to remain a traditional and spectacular mud town. Welcome to ... read more
RIVERSIDE
RIVERSIDE
RIVERSIDE

Africa » Mali » Centre » Ségou March 4th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...SEGOU Festival du Niger is held here each February...music, puppetry, stilt dancing...Malian culture on show ...maybe next time. After Christmas lunch of roast goat and watermelon in a field under a tree, we (seven of us) arrived in Segou. Our hotel was next to the river, with rooms named Mopti, Kidal...and Tombouctou... We are on our way. As beautiful as the Ngoni lilts on Bassekou Kouyate's CD "SEGU BLUE", ...and his mesmerising performance with his band Ngoni Ba at the Festival au Desert in Timbuktu, Segou the river town on the Niger was an idyllic outpost for Christmas Day & Boxing Day 2010. Welcome to Segou...and Regards, Dancing Dave (who danced through Segou on his way to Timbuktu)... read more
WOMEN'S WORK?
...IT CERTAINLY IS...
DUSK

Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné March 1st 2011

THE MUD MOSQUES OF MALI The Mud Mosque at Djenne captured my imagination from the pictures in books from my childhood...an exotic image that remained with me...but as I have now been there...the images are real and indelibly printed in my psyche... I photograhed as many Mud Mosques as I could as I danced through Mali. Mali is a predominately Muslim nation, so each village has a mosque. There is the occasional Christian mud church. However, as it does not erode in rain, concrete is being used in the construction of some village mosques, sometimes painted pink or light blue. There is pressure to replace mud with concrete...but there is opposition as mud artisans are an ancient traditional craft...and every village can make mud bricks if there is a pool of water nearby...and the expense is ... read more
OLD SEGOU
ON THE ROAD NORTH OF BAMAKO
A VILLAGE MOSQUE

Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné February 28th 2011

FACES OF MALI...DJENNE TO DOGON COUNTRY BANDIAGARA FALAISE From the magic of the crossing of the Bani Rver to enter the mud town of Djenne...famous for its Mud Mosque...rising before dawn to catch the sunrise over this ancient town...into its bustling Monday market...it's what dreams are made of ... then to enter the Bandiagara escarpment and trek between Dogon villages...sleeping on mud roof tops...waking with a cliff on one side and braying donkeys and baobab trees on the other...rock, rock and more rock...dancing with the locals...that's what further dreams are made of...and becomes reality... Enjoy and Regards, Dancing Dave (who danced his way through Mali on his way to his Tuareg wedding at Timbuktu!!!) ... read more
FELANI YOUNG LOVERS
FELANI MOTHER & CHILD
THE KEY KEEPER

Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné January 12th 2011

Djenne (pronounded Jenny) was the place that everyone was anticipating and we were anxious to get there - but the drive there and the l-o-n-g lunch break just seemed to drag the day out. We were nearly there and discovered that we have to cross the Niger River by ferry - and there was a line up of vehicles and people............but each trip across the river has been a real experience.......switch into African time and just enjoy.......we were soo close that we could see the town but we had to wait for our turn on the ferry and make our way through the barrage of trinket sellers......needless to say that we have purchased quite a few items and they all enjoy the opportunity to bargain with you. Djenne was founded in the 13th century and is ... read more
Loading onto the ferry
Djenne mosque
 Djenne mosque

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Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné December 26th 2010

We headed off to visit Djenne and Dogon Country on Boxing day with Ian, Kirsten and Ryan – keeping in the kiwi tradition of road trips on Boxing Day and all that :-) We crammed all 5 of us into our Dogon guide’s car – Sori, a Dogon, who lives in Bamako and was going to take us up to Djenne and the Dogon Country and be our local guide throughout. After trying several patterns we found that it was best to have either Martin or Ian in the middle of the backseat with either myself or Kirsten crouched between, legs over the centre console, then someone either side of us and one in the front seat. Not the most comfortable of course but not that bad either – and saved taking a whole lot of ... read more
Sunset as we crossed the river to Djenne
Charming streets of Djenne
Colourful markets

Africa » Mali » Centre October 29th 2010

Some people say: Save the best for last Some people say: The last part is the hardest part Relating the first phrase I think indeed came close here in Mali. Agi thinks the second phrase is also true... Going to Mali was for me always something like a dream. In 2002 I came close, but lacked the time and money. Now I could spare both. So when the option arose, I took it with 2 hands. Agi came along, happy to complete our trip. The African continent could not be missed. Senegal was just a stop-over. Mali is the core destination. We've spent the most of our 'african' time here, knowing that the clock is ticking and the people at home are getting more and more eager to see us again. So there we went and ... read more
Breakfast Buffet @ the border
Poffertjes!!!!
The Niger River

Africa » Mali » Centre » Ségou March 13th 2010

So its been a while since we last wrote and we have done a lot! Right so we travelled out of Ghana but not before each getting to sit on a crocodile which was extremely bizarre! We also got to feed monkeys biscuits which was a highlight! they actually came out of the trees and snatched the biscuit out of your hand and sat there and ate it..... surreal! We then crossed into Burkina Faso and stayed in Ouagadougou (a joy to pronounce!) where we got to check out the night life of the area..... and spent a lazy day washing clothes! We've also crossed into Mali where one of our tour guides was replaced with another (the initial tour guide caught malaria and we had a stand in..... but Darren the fellow who had Malaria ... read more

Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné July 9th 2009

Well I’m in Djenne to see the market and the Mosque. I spent Saturday looking around Mopti with Anil. These would-be guides are very, very annoying! They really detract from the Mali experience. Bought a ticket to go to Djenne by boat. Stupidly I paid in advance because the next day the boat turned out to be bogus! Down 4000CFA. Oh well, after a long wait caught a bush taxi to Djenne. Met a guide named “John Travolta” (WTF!) but I agreed to let him give me a tour. He turned out to be honest and didn’t try to screw me, although I doubt his official licence. The town is entirely made of mud! Crazy! All-in-all Mali seems nice, but there are too many tourists and not enough money. This leads to many people trying to ... read more

Africa » Mali » Centre » Ségou November 27th 2008

Well Thanksgiving is already upon us, and I can barely believe it. I would just as soon forget that it is, but Nora keeps reminding me that it’s her favorite holiday (it took me a while, but I got the hint that I can’t let this day go unobserved). Even knowing the month (and keeping track of that has been surprisingly difficult in this backwater that is Niono) is hardly a marker for the passage of time as one day looks remarkably like another. We don’t have big plans for today, and what plans we do have Nora’s made for us. Apparently I’m to make macaroni and cheese, yam casserole, and a salad. Nora’s going to pick up some roasted lamb in the market, and we’re to have a feast with Amelie, Keba, and Hame. Aside ... read more
Nora with Hame
Me with Hame
Sunset in Niono




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