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Published: February 18th 2008
The group at Kouroussa
From left to right: Julienne (Secretary), Dan (Project Geologist), Balde (Geologist), Aguibou (Country Manager), Chris, Alpar (Database/GIS), Marie (Geologist)
February 17, 2008 Travelling from Kouroussa, Guinea to Bamako, Mali Guinea
More driving. We were up early and had a bigger breakfast. Then, Chris had a meeting with Aguibou and Dan, then we said goodbye to everyone. Eventually left the Kouroussa house at 9:00am.
The highway was in excellent shape, and progress was relatively quick. I decided to write down things that we have seen along the way, that are somewhat interesting. I have been watching the hut construction quite closely as they vary with different groups. There has been a slight change in the roof construction as we headed from Kouroussa. Hard to explain without photos, but instead of layered thatch with a ring at the top and two parallel horizontal sticks out the top, the sticks turned to crossing and the rings seem to be missing.
Most of the washing of clothes seems to be happening in the morning. All is done by hand on a washboard in a plastic tub. The women seem to bend from the waist as they lean over the washboard to scrub the clothing. Then the clothes are hung from lines, on fences, or over rocks to dry.
morning tradition observed, is brushing of the teeth. A smaller stick, cut into a point, is used to scrub the teeth. I would imagine it is a specific wood type (?) but not sure.
There were a few more open huts, like a gazebo, along the way today. They are located near or in fields, to give the farmers shade.
There are signs stating the name of all villages we drove through in Guinea. The signs are rectangular, with a red border, white main area and black text. Sometimes, when you are leaving a larger village or town, there will be a second sign with a red line running from top right to bottom left (like a no smoking sign).
The kilometers to a major centre signage are concrete half ovals on the side of the road. They will have the next major centre name with the number of km’s to it below and will be placed every 5 kms.
Broken down trucks on corners, do not have flares, so small clumping of green leaves are laid out as we would flares. The green sure stands out on the laterite roads, which are often very red.
Manalo Project (Mali)
Laterite boulders with quartz
Fooseball tables are everywhere. Adults and kids seem to be playing the game. It was a surprise to see the first one, then they kept popping up all over the place.
There are lots of bikes and motorbikes, and hardly anyone wears helmets (I think I have seen a total of 3 helmuts on the many people we have passed). As well, the vehicles often have big rectangular baskets on the top that are piled so high!! Sometimes, a little car will have so much stuff on it, that the top is about 1.5 times higher than the car itself. It is scary to watch them go around an incorrectly banked corner, as they look like they are going to tip. Today, one of the mini-van styled taxis, had a couple of people up on top of its basket as well as a couple of goats! Very interesting.
Another interesting sight in Guinea, are the amount of hunters. One sees many men walking or biking with a gun tucked on his back. I believe they are shotguns that they carry. At first, it is a little unnerving to see a gun, but soon, I was very used to it. Mali
The border crossing today was interesting. There were 5 stops all together that our driver had to deal with (some Guinea, some Mali). The whole process took about an hour. Once we were on the Mali side, there were another 3 stops we had to make for our driver to show his paperwork for the vehicle (special paperwork is required to be able to take a vehicle into different countries).
So, that was the interesting sights seen over the past few days in Guinea, and many of them seen again today.
Once we arrived in Mali, we detoured to visit our Manalo project. We stopped at the office/house, met up with Noel and the other geologist (didn’t catch his name), then we proceeded out to visit a rather large artisanal site. It was very interesting to see. Then, we headed out to visit another part of the project. Took lots of pictures, so hope some of them will work out for the company. From there, we headed back to the office for lunch for our driver, then onto Bamako.
The day was quite long and arrival at La Chaumiere was wonderful. I hopped into the shower almost immediately, as it is the first hot shower with good water pressure that I have had in a week. The hotel in Conakry had very low water pressure, no such thing as a shower at Koba, and Kouroussa had no hot water in our room (and boy, even in the heat that cold water was truly cold!!).
Now, Chris is out of the shower, so we are going for drinks and dinner. Then I will see if I can get on the internet to upload this text.
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