Monday, August 18, 2008

Mali One

Back From Segou

So, I went to my future home for two years. It was pretty nice, although it's essentially in the middle of nowhere and a little hot. The edge of the Sahara is close to Sokolo. Luckily an extensive canal system keeps a plethora of water on tap for extensive rice cultivation. The previous PCV I'm replacing is a hilarious character and provided me with ample initiation into my life there. His chicken project is still in the works and I assume I'll do some continuation with that in first months, and hopefully there will be some eggs to be had.
My living situation is interesting to say the least. I have my own house with three rooms in a concession with a family. My direct neighbor is a deaf man who is entertaining most of the times, although he has a habit of bringing me very sweet, hot tea after I've brushed my teeth and usually after I'm asleep. Sticking the hot stick cup under my mosquito net and beckoning to me in what I think no one would call an inside voice. I think I'll have to work to establish some boundaries that were never really established in the previous PCVs service. Also my roof has a tendency to leak when it rains. All in the site is exciting, if not a little daunting (although probably any rural village in Africa would be a little daunting). It was made abundantly clear to me that my Bambara has as a good ways to come before I'll understand most of my daily interactions, but it has only been around a month.
I was able to spend a few days in Segou, our regional capital which is really nice accommodating city. Here, we met the current PCVs who all are a pleasure to hang out with, although they had some interesting stories to tell about the real PC life here in Mali. We all stayed at the Hotel Djoliba, a really nice hotel on the PC dime. We got our first pizzas, pools, ice cream, and hamburgers in Mali. Segou is about 6-9 hours from Sokolo and I assume I'll be heading down there once a month or so to use some of the Hotel vouchers we recieve every quarter. I head back to Tamala in a few days for our last stint at home stay. After 20 days there, assuming we progress enough in Bambara, we will swear in as actual Peace Corp Volunteer and leave behind our current lowly trainee status. I probably won't post much until I swear in, but all is good and I have lost 12 pounds.