It’s been a while since my last post, but I’ll try to do a few while I’m here at Tubani so (yes it’s two words) this time. There are now 80 of us trying to use the same crappy household modem so I can’t promise anything.
There has been a lot that has happened in the last few weeks and I’ll try to break it all down in somewhat chronological order. As of last episode the protagonist of this story, me, had just found out the village he is going to stay at for the next two years. Since that time I have spent a week at site, finished the first section of my language training and am now finishing training before I swear in. To put it shortly, homestay is done. Or as one would say in Bambara, Stag abana!
Firstly, I’ll give my impression of site. I’m in a small village outside of San in the Segou region. I know that means absolutely nothing to most of you, so I’ll give you a brief description. If I were to give you a topographical map of San, then I’d hand you a blank sheet of paper. The place is incredibly flat and is no where near as lush as Niamana. I’ve traded cliffs and an pretty amazing variety of vegetation for brush, a lot of cool trees and a astounding amount of horses (there are hardly any horses in the rest of Mali, but for some reason they are everywhere in San). When you put this together with the relatively plentiful amount of booze due to the large Christian population, the brothels and the large herds of cattle it feels like I live in the wild wild west of Mali.
The Stag house in San is awesome. Many PCV think that it is the best PCV house in Mali, and I’m pretty impressed myself. We have the largest library in Peace Corps Mali and a cistern that functions as a sort of “cold” tub. To top it all off the other trainees moving into the house are a really good group.
My village is about 25K away from San (an easy bike ride) and is pretty intimate. A giant Bao Bao tree is right outside my compound and the tree is home to around twenty giant cranes. Immediately out of my front door is a mammoth place for me to put a garden. Two other solid additions to the location are ducks and pigs. I’m the third volunteer at my site and the girl (http://jenniferinmali.blogspot.com/ ) I’m replacing is doing a third year in Bamako with my buddy Fletcher (info below).
I might make another post on homestay, but I’ll sum it up briefly. It’s the fasting month here, and ironically that means that I ate like a freaking king. Once night falls people go nuts and consume a great, great deal of food very quickly. I did not fast, but enjoy the feasting anyways. I’ve passed my language test, and discounting disaster should swear in on Friday.
PST Friends of note (I have many friends here, but a few warrant a mention. We are pretty much family at this point)
Anderson- By partner in time at all times here in Mali. I think we may make an odd pair, but we are a pair none that less. Back in Montana if I had the labor statistics on number of people doing a given profession opera singer would be a laughably small number. Anderson is an opera singer and is now for some reason in Africa hanging out with me a lot. Whether kicking it at the local hostel, climbing cliffs or watching an episode of Life at 1AM in the library after a night at the Trash Pile; Anderson has been by my side. During homestay we were living at rival dugu tiki houses. However, I think Anderson’s heavenly voice, and my charming good looks may have brought peace to the two families.
Fletcher- Born in Paris, went to boarding school and college in Portland. Awesome. Nuff said
Ryan- Those that know me well may know that I tend to have a lot of friends named Ryan. It should come as no surprise then that I have a good friend named Ryan here in Mali, but Ryan is different. It’s a girl! She is awesome and a fellow Poli Theory enthusiast.
Yet again the only time I can do this is at around 1am, so I’m not going to bother editing it very much.