Friday, January 28, 2011
After my marathon trip to get from Colorado to Bamako, I didn’t really leave my hotel room until it was time for lunch. Wandering down the street to The Relax, I sat down at a table in their outdoor patio. Moments after sitting down, I glanced up to see two old friends walking in. Casey and Steven had lived in Segou for about 6 months(?) until December 2007 before moving back to the States. I could hardly believe my eyes when they came walking up – with only one day in the capital – I had the chance to go to the same restaurant at the same time! Incredible. I still can’t believe it. They are back in Mali for two weeks to print some books they created for adult literacy that are being printed in Bambara, the dominant local language. Small world indeed.
After taking care of a few random tasks in Bamako namely getting my money changed and a short meeting with SNV (Dutch version of USAID I am working with), I went to bed early before my long journey up to Pays Dogon. Originally I was getting a ride from the Peace Corps as far as Segou where I’d planned to spend a few nights. However, because I had been delayed back in the states, I had to go the full distance to Bandiagara that day. It felt really strange going through Segou and not stopping to say hello – so many people I haven’t seen in over two years! I’m eager to get back down and am hoping I can make it for the Festival sur le Niger the first week of February (looks highly likely). After getting up at 5:30am, I finally arrived about 7:15pm and that’s making good time on the bus. A PCV I’m going to work with met me at the bus and we had a good chat before I went, completely exhausted, to my bed where I soundly slept for the next 12 hours.
My apartment is coming along and I now have a bed, mattress, plastic mat and a borrowed “butt-floss” chair… hoping to get better sitting items this week. Internet is not nearly as good as I had hoped and Skype so far looks unlikely as the speed just isn’t fast enough to support a call. However, if you want to call me, my phone number is posted on my facebook profile – just remember to add the country code (223) and that I’m on the same time as London (5 hrs from DC/7 from Colorado). I should have internet most days of the week but this is still Africa – the internet was down for over two weeks because Bandiagara doesn’t officially have service yet and everyone was piggybacking off someone that worked for the provider. He was selling connections on the side and he left town for a while without paying the bill. Thus, the entire town had no internet. What does exist is fairly slow too, I can’t really download/upload pictures or attachments. Also having trouble with my yahoo mail but that seems to be better now. If you want to send me anything, please send them to:
Yuri Horowitz, RPCV
Corps de la Paix
BP 19 Bandiagara
Mali, West Africa
Work is getting off to a good start too – first week of introductions and meetings and then catching up on things now that internet is back. I’ll update more on this next post as I’m still getting my feet under me. Since yesterday, I drove through Bandiagara, Pelini, Kinde, Melo, Some, Borko, Doentza, Sevare, etc. and am looking forward to Sangha, YougouPiri, Djigibombo, Kani-Kombole, Ouo, etc… love the names of towns out here.
It is good to be back in Mali – something about having the red African earth beneath my feet again – it’s hard to describe but essentially Mali will always be a second home for me. Of course, I could do without the little kids screaming toubab! toubabo!, donne moi un cadeau/bic/ton vello/etc in their shrill voices and remembering to eat slowly so as not to break my teeth on the inevitable bits of dust and sand… I’m adjusting to the African pace of life little by little.