August 12, 2004: Headlines: COS - Mali: PCVs int he Field - Mali: Personal Web Site: ali in mali

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mali: Peace Corps Mali : The Peace Corps in Mali: August 12, 2004: Headlines: COS - Mali: PCVs int he Field - Mali: Personal Web Site: ali in mali

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-239-147.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.239.147) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:20 am: Edit Post

ali in mali

ali in mali

ali in mali

what's happening....

august 2002 - november 2004

so i joined the peace corps and am heading off for western africa......
this probably doesn't surprise anyone.

i had originally thought they would send me off to latin america (especially with my spanish), but they decided to send me off to the french speaking country of Mali, in hopes that i can help in Small Enterprise Development.

i'll work on this site as much as i can.... but remember, i don't know how often i will have web access!!!



november 2002

...................................

pc020.jpg

Installation

Segou clan gathered together early morning at the taining center and headed off for the Bittar Bus Transport to go to Segou-ville for a few days awaiting installation. I was to be installed on the 6th and we arrived on the 4th. We all took the time to go crazy in the markets and buy a bunch of thinngs that peace corps was required to take out to our sites. I bought a double framed bed and cotton mattress. They were not too happy about this when they had to load it onto the suv. But we made it. Everyone was pretty tired for the most part from the week long festivities during swear in. We took it easy and relaxed a lot and ate good foods.

We then moved on down to San, my sub-regional stage house. There are 15 of us in the San sub region. Our stage house looks like a Morroccan mirage.. sea blue tile floors, white washed walls, enormous plants along the side and a trapezoidal porch. From here we got to see where everyone in our region would be placed. It was good to establish this base.

Site

Tominion. It is a town definately, but it is really small with about 2500 people, 2 quartiers. We have a major regional health center, world vision, several other ngos and most of the country headquarters. Tominion is a cercle centre, kind of like a county capital. So, accordingly, we have small luxuries like a cold coke stand that many of my team mates are unable to get.

The first day was wonderful. I love having my own place. It is amazing, even if the goats wake me up in the morning and try to get into the house when my door is open and even if the chickens peck at my shoes. I live in a concession with 2 other families and a school teacher. They are all really nice and have been very helpful on getting acclimated. We have a very nice court yard as well with 4 mango trees growing. I never before realized how important shade is until now. During site visit, we had 3 dogs, now we have 1. The family ate the other 2. I live with dog eaters. I tend to avoid the meat they try to give me, although one day I lucked out and got some good pork. We have more than 20 goats, chickens, donkeys, a horse and a dog. No, we do not live on a farm, this is in town. Everyone seems to have this amount of livestock.

My homologue, Salome Djarra, is a very intelligent woman with many plans. I am excited to begin work with her after my local language, Bobo/Bore/Bomu has improved. A woman's literacy center will start up in the next 2 months that I have been asked to help out on. She has also asked me for assisstance with the women's group caisse (bank). The coordinator of the women's associations is a very interesting lady too. I am real interested in working with her. She has her own import business from Burkina Faso and works with all the femme groups in the community. Her brother in law is a Dembele, so every time I go over there we have to insult each other. It normally ends up with him telling me that I am his slave and he has to beat me if i'm not good. This is a normal insult and can be said to strangers. When mom and Aunt Dottie come out, he made me promise that their names would be Dembele too. I think he wants to start a fight:)

I am also working once a week with a local shop keeper named Aly Kone. We go over his finances and I help him organize a record book for his shop. It is slow going and he doesn't seem to understand he should write down all business transactions. But we are making progress.

ok, i'll write more later. i've been on here too long and need a break.


....end of november......

went out to segou for thanksgiving but became dreadfully ill. don't know what it is but i waited it out until i could go back to site. sent a "mif kit" back to bamako. will see results later.



august 2003

It's now been 5 months since I've written.

August started out with me coming out of site and into Bamako. I have told everyone in my village that I will be moving to Segou to take the Peace Corps Volunteer Leader position. My host mom was not so happy, and truthfully, I will really miss her and the family. Things had changed at the house though. The 2 boys had left to go harvest in their villages and Gabriel's wife, child and sister had moved in to help out. Mary will also be moving to Segou or Bandiagara for school. Hopefully, she'll be in Segou.

So I left site in the begining of August. As I walked down the road, I looked back and G'boy was watching me with his tail down. It was very sad. I sat with Aly and Oumar most of the day. Spoke with Ezekias and Shadrock and talked about future volunteers in site. I know now that I won't be replaced, but I was pretty sure that I would be at this point and filled them in on the plan. Ezekias would've been homologue. And the volunteer would help start the newspaper business. It could have been interesting. Instead, I have just given them the Self-Help Fund application and wished them the best.

So getting to Bamako, we began the pre-TOT SED retreat. That is the meeting to plan the sessions of training. I will be in Bamako for most of their training and then my APCD (program director), had the bright idea that I should host a Field Based Training group in the capital itself, when I don't speak Bambara nor do I know the city so well. We'll manage. My friend Suzie is coming down to help with that and she speaks Fufulde, so we will make a great team!

We picked up the "stagieres" on the 14th. I was in charge of yelling "Get your bag from the pile and move to the front! We're taking a group out now!!!" I even got into a small tif in Bambara and every one was really impressed. We drove out to Tubani So and I got to do the "nyagen demonstration" where we showed the kids how to use the toilet here. mmmmm.... that was fun.

We had a lot of fun the first week. Then the group went on demyst. It was strange to see the full circle of events. I can't wait to go through this next year! They ask so many questions!!!!

SED training has started finally and we have been putting sessions together. Will, Joe and Vanessa were there the first week and this week it will be Dave and Nora. We have done a lot of preping and this week we will take them into the villages to work with a munincipality, an artisan, a bank group and a women's association. They will be in charge of their entire project and how it goes.

We took a break this weekend and the entire training group went up to Segou for the big Memorial Day, Luau. I had t-shirts made for the event and the crew up there made tons of food and we decorated the night before. It was a lot of fun. I have really missed my region mates this past month being in Bamako. I don't see any of them very often. We went to the pool all day sunday and then came back to the feast and festivities that night. Jungle Juice was prepared and I drank enough of it to give me a good night sleep. I think 60 people showed up.

So now I am back in Bamako. Tomorrow I will be going back to Tubani So. I'll be here for 2 more weeks and then I get to go move my stuff from Tominion to Segou. Hopefully I'll have a house by then.


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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mali; PCVs int he Field - Mali

PCOL12772
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