September 20, 2015

Eid in Bamako, South Africa and Future Visits

Dear Families,

It's been a while since we've sent you an update, so here it is! Dorothee and I have been doing well, and are getting well acclimated to Mali at this point. We've made lots of friends, and are continually involved in many routine activities such as trivia nights, hashing, brunches, getting tailor-made clothes, and so on.

Last month (June) we spent a week in South Africa, and a week in Namibia, and then Adeel a few days in Kenya (due to a canceled flight). 

South Africa was great. Dorothee's aunt, Penny, was gracious enough to allow us to stay for a week at her place, and she even lent us her car for the week! Adeel was happy to meet the rest of the Bonds, and felt welcomed to the family. Penny hosted a Braii (a South African BBQ) for us, which was spectacular. Adeel went to the hospital because he was increasingly becoming deaf, and after getting his ears de-waxed, could miraculously hear again - Johannesburg seems to have good healthcare. Otherwise we explored Johannesburg and the surrounding areas. We shopped (we missed going to proper shopping malls), visited the Lion And Rhino Park, saw the cave of human kind (where some of the world's earliest hominids are found), completed a bike tour of Sowetto, visited Satyagara house (where Gandhi used to live), saw the apartheid museums (which shocked Adeel because the events were so recent), had a lot of good South African Cuisine, and much more.

Namibia was great as well.  Along the Skeleton Coast there are sand dunes as far as the eye can see. We saw tons of critters in the dunes, and were surprised that the desert hosted so much life! Adeel climbed and coursed around the dune in dune buggies, while Dorothee met with her colleagues from Peace Corps. There was a lot of eating, working and socializing there as well, and it has taken us nearly a month to get back to our pre-vacation weight! Namibia and South Africa both reminded Adeel of America or Europe. He was surprised to find parts of Africa so developed.

Last week was Eid. We first celebrated with a colleague of Dorothee, and ate riz gras, french fries, goat meat and locally made yogurt. We then went to visit friends who own a restaurant. The Malian husband built a smoker in the front of the restaurant, and after feeding a fire for hours with wood, we had wonderful roast lamb with 20 other people as our Eid dinner!

Next week Maman/Christine is arriving to spend a week with us, and we are both thrilled. We've planned out lots of activities for her (Dorothee has a long list in her phone). We'll be sure to send you all some updates and photos of what we'll be doing! We're also hoping that Ammi/Abida will come visit us soon as well. We'll plan out lots of good things for then too!

Anyway, we are both arguing about how long or short the email should be. Dorothee thinks it should be much shorter, but Adeel thinks it should be longer. So we will compromise and stop here :)

Hope everyone is doing well, and we look forward to hearing from you too!

Lots of love,

Adeel & Dorothee

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