Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Great video from an RPCV about Mali

A RPCV (Return Peace Corps Volunteer) from the early 90s just came here and showed us a trailer for a film he is working on. Take a look at the trailer and short version he has on his website: There is a fair bit of footage from where I live here in Segou and even of some people I know and see every week when I walk around town. For instance, when he is at the big mosque here in Segou, towards the end of that segment, he pans to an old man sitting down with some prayer beads and smiles - I love that man he is so kind! Anyhow - take a look at the clip and get a little perspective of my life over here. With my pictures and stories, I try and convey what I can of my life over here and this film does a great job at that. I am just finishing up my training week here at Tubaniso and will be heading down to Sikasso for a few days before returning to Segou around the 25th. Hope you enjoy the film!!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Holidays Africa Style

I'm back in Tubaniso south of Bamako for a few weeks to do some training and thus have an opportunity to update my situation a bit...

There is so much to tell I'll start with the Holidays and hopefully come back and give a little update on all the other goings on a little later.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was hard to believe I was in the heart of Africa for all that we had. Honestly, it was probably one of the best Thanksgivings I've had - it just felt so homey. We made everything from scratch and that made it all the more fulfilling. We had everything but the cranberry sauce. For example: We made stuffing by buying some bread and letting it get stale overnight to harden, had "Jay Pie" in lieu of Pumpkins (Jay is a similar gourd with a slightly lighter flavor which I think I actually like better than regular pumpkin pie), green bean casserole with home made fried onions, two huge turkeys, sweet potato casserole, squash casserole, pasta and garlic bread, deviled eggs, banana cream pie, there was more but that is all I can think of for now. We had it at Steffen's , my german friend's, house where he has a oven and nice kitchen... Kathy, Danielle (another american dating Steffen) and I all did the majority of the cooking with a little help from other volunteers in the region - in all there were about 20 people at dinner. We started cooking about 4pm the day before until 2am and then again starting at 8am until 7pm when we sat down for dinner. I really missed be back in the states for Thanksgiving, but this was a pretty good alternative.

Christmas was a little similar but with most of the preparations at Kathy's house and brought over to Steffen's house. I got a great package from Olga on Friday before xmas with some nice treats and even did a little stocking exchange Kathy. We tried to go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve but when we showed up at 11:30 in an attempt to be early, mass was just finishing. They start their midnight mass here at 10:30 - go figure. I don't' consider myself the most religious person but the experience of going is really great here with all the singing they have. The mass is conducted in French with a very muffled microphone so I understand very little and then all the songs are in Bambara accompanied by drums - it is amazing to be in the church with a very African atmosphere.

I've got to get off the internet so that is it for my holiday update but I'll try and fill you all in on the in between activities shortly (hopefully with a few photos)...

Where I've Been...