September 20, 2015

Wow-termelons and Sacred Arch

Dear Family,

It's nearing the end of September in Bamako, and the weather is staying relatively cool (upper 80s) with some days of intense heat.  We’ve been here nearly 8 months, and our air conditioners have stayed on for that whole period.

The rains come every other day, falling torrentially for about 30 mins.  Since the sewers are open, and overflowing with flip flops, plastic bags, remains of rice and bean dinners, broken chairs etc, the rains flow along the roads which become like rivers, and the trash is spread out further and further into people’s dwellings.  Mosquitoes are also pretty bad at this time – we feel bad for our guards who bear the brunt of the stings -- and we try to provide them small relief by buying them anti-mosquito creams, coils and insect-zapping lamps.  Alas, nothing seems to stop those voracious bugs...

A few nights ago, we participated in a fancy dinner hosted by an American and his Malagasy (from Madagascar) wife.  We sat in a beautiful garden, at tables with white table clothes, enjoying Samosas, calamari in ginger curry paste, Coco Chicken, and vanilla ice cream.  It was unusual, and lot of fun to get a flavor of that distant, exotic island.  We were also entertained by dancers performing typically Malagasy dances and wearing Malagasy clothes with weaved baskets. 

Two weekends ago, we got a group together and hiked to see a huge arch rock formation about an hour's drive from Bamako.  It is a sacred place where the king of the city of Siby would predict the futures to warriors wishing to determine the outcomes of their battles.  Our group consisted of our friends, their small children and our pregnant colleague, so we took our time.  Along the way, Malian children held our hand, cleared the pathway from vegetation and kept us company as we sat to eat our picnic.  We didn’t make it to the waterfall, but will organize another outing to see it soon.

A few days before that, we took a 2-hour trip in a covered pirogue around Bamako, and got to see huge mounds of trash burning along the river banks, fishermen drying their nets on bushes, women washing their clothes and children with the same batch of soapy water, and a large wooden boats dragging sand from the river’s bottom to make cement.

We’re definitely adapting little by little.  Dorothee tries to separate work and personal life, though some of her American colleagues are not as successful.  She recently made cardamom ice cream and chocolate ice cream, and is looking forward to making coconut ice cream soon.

Adeel is teaching himself how to swim in our tiny pool, and developing a website to display items for sale from the expat community.  We’re hoping this project will make us Billionaires one day, but in the meantime, it’s been fun to learn a new coding language.

We miss you all.  Dorothee will spend a quick week in October, but otherwise, we plan to spend a couple of weeks in DC over December and January.

Dorothee & Adeel 

 Adeel contemplates life as we drift along the Niger river in Bamako (please note the indigo shirt he got tailor made)

 Arch of Siby, sacred places where warriors got their futures told

 There's nothing better than home-made ice cream in Malian weather

 Hashing in a beautiful place close to our house.  Double bonus for a small waterfall, and practically no trash bags around

 Our friend Sekou making us cavity-inducing sweet Hibiscus tea

 Another fancy tailor-made Indigo shirt

 Starfruits are in season, and grow just outside my office window


Obstacle course to overcome before arriving at a fancy resort/restaurant.  Thank god for Landcruisers --- other cars would be swallowed alive

Trash burning and nets drying on the side of the Niger River

Wow-termelons are also in season and grow to the size of small toddlers

1 comment:

Pablo (yo) said...

Great blog!!

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http://albumdeestampillas.blogspot.com

Thanks,
Pablo from Argentina