Blogs from Mali, Africa - page 22


Africa » Mali » District of Bamako » Bamako July 16th 2004

The rainy season seems to have begun in earnest. The rain still falls mostly at night, but it’s power and fury are like nothing I have seen before. Here, one is never surprised by the onset of a storm. Piercing cracks of thunder and seemingly interminable lightning strikes (a fireworks displays that many would be proud to emulate) slowly, inexorably wage successful battle against the fierce unforgiving sun. The sky becomes dark gray, a few shades this side of ebony, and the winds start to howl and swirl ferociously, and finally, almost anti-climactically, the torrential downpour begins. No, I don’t spend all of my time mesmerized by the feats of Mother Nature, or for that matter running from her vengeful wrath. I do have several important things to accomplish here. But, let me start from the ... read more

Africa » Mali » District of Bamako » Bamako July 11th 2004

One of the neat things about living in various places and not just passing through is being able to observe and sometimes participate as the local people celebrate or commemorate the principal stages of the life cycle: birth, coming-of-age, marriage and death. In Japan I was privileged to attend a wedding of a fellow teacher, and although the Western influence on the dress and ceremony was strong, the Japanese setting created an atmosphere that hinted of ancient rites and customs, unique to their culture. Similarly, at a coming-of-age ceremony which celebrated entrance into adulthood at age twenty, I saw young men dressed in Western-style suits and women dressed in gorgeous kimono with an elaborate bow tied across the back. They were eager to leave the gymnasium and begin exercising the «rights» that adults enjoy the world ... read more

Africa » Mali » District of Bamako » Bamako June 28th 2004

I am currently in Bamako, the capital of Mali, as I write this, my town, Ouelessebougou, not being sufficiently advanced to have access to the internet. Bamako is a vibrant, bustling city of more than a million, but it is very much a local place with sidewalks filled with street vendors. There is no 5 star hotel per se, but of course there are some luxurious accomodations and fancy western restaurants for the occasional foreigner who stumbles into this city. The national museum is pretty impressive, but unfortunately Mali, once the home of three great empires, retains little of its great heritage. Most artifacts have long ago been pillaged and plundered. I visited in Bamako the national zoo, a journey better ... read more

Africa » Mali » Dogon Country December 28th 2002

Thanks for all your messages, sorry that the weather in the UK is not good, its really hot and sunny here! We are of course still having a brilliant time. Christmas day we spent in a campsite near the small town of Bandiagara in Dogon Country (50 people and one toilet!!) We did a huge cooked breakfast without the meat, a light lunch then a massive dinner. We'd bought a pig and a goat that the campsite slaughtered and cooked for us (and upset people by bringing in the live goat on the back of a moped, draggin it “screaming” round the back of the camp, and dead goat!), then had roast pumpkin, roast onion, jacket spuds, coleslaw, gravy, banoffee pie and pizza (there are a couple of part Italians on the other truck who ... read more
Looking over the escarpment to the Dogon village of Banani
Houses and Granaries, Banani
Cooking Christmas breakfast

Africa » Mali » District of Bamako » Bamako December 18th 2002

We have now arrived in Bamako, the capital of Mali. It is roasting here, up to 37 C in the shade, and I am sure that things will get hotter. Thanks for all the mail you've been sending. From Nouakchott to Nema the road was newish tarmac and we drove a good 400km each day. We didnt stop really for anything other than toilet stops, lunch and a quick stop in any towns for food etc. The scenery started off as typical desert, rolling sand dunes, flat sand as far as you can see. The second day out we drove through a bunch of huge escarpments, pretty impressive, and a nice change from flat sand. One night we camped in the middle of this huge dirt field, no trees or bushes or anything. These long convoys ... read more
Collecting water from the well

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