My husband and I recently moved to Mali! Here's our first email to the families:
It's been a week and we like Bamako so far. Bamako is a bustling small city, full of motor cycles, women in Boubous, road-side vegetable stands, and kids trying to sell you prepaid cell phone cards. We are getting situated and have found some local grocery stores, which all seem to be owned by the Lebanese. Though costs are relatively low, our groceries have been double what they are in the States. We will get used to it soon!
Our house is very nice, but it is a little too big for us. We have two floors consisting of 3 full bathrooms, a master bedroom, 3 guest rooms, 2 lounges, a dining room, and a small pool. We have already gotten a gardener and maid, whom we pay out of our own expenses. But the house comes with around the clock guards that Dorothee's employee covers [husband Adeel is teleworking from Mali with a tech company based in Virgina.]
As you may have heard, in the early morning of March 7th, heavily armed assailants attacked a popular nightclub (not near our house fortunately), killing and injuring several Malians and 2 expatriates (a Frenchman and a Belgian). This is very unusual for Bamako. Dorothee is used to these types of incidents from her time in Congo, but is a little out of touch on safety and security issues, having spent the major of the last 8-10 years in the United States.
Dorothee walks to her office from our house every day, which is a total of 8 minutes by foot... Adeel works at home, and has been able to do his work so far without issues. He is waiting on getting better Internet installed at the house, but it may not be all that much better! We went to a taco dinner just last night, and we look forward to trying more local food in weeks to come.
Our second day in town, we went to a great restaurant by the Niger River
Adeel was greatly relieved to find many different forms of recognizable meat
This is Dorothee's Office...
... Just kidding! This is Dorothee's Office (with Dorothee hard at work)
The street that leads to our house
We have a dryer, but our maid insists on drying our clothes this way
Crossing a bridge over the Niger river
A very big lizard (behind the chair) - Adeel insisted on including this photo.
Stuck in a traffic jam!