Posted by: kristinej | September 23, 2009

September 23rd

These past few days have been full of fêtes (parties), as Sunday marked the end of Ramadan and yesterday was Mali’s independence day (their 49th anniversary).  The end of Ramadan was not actually that exciting for me.  The Malians all got new clothes.  It was funny to see my brothers in khakis and dress shirts, and my 3 year old sister actually had makeup on.  Lots of the kids also wore sunglasses, which apparently is the cool thing to do.  Sunday morning the women in my house made a huge thing of potatoes and we had that for lunch and the rest got distributed to friends and relatives.  There weren’t any real parties, but everyone spent the day going from house to house and greeting their friends and sometimes bringing food.  I visited Becky and Anjali’s houses and they came to mine and we ate at each place, and that was about it for our greeting responsibilities.

Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day at a potluck hosted by a Peace Corps member and her Malian husband who are staying in the home of a USAID worker.  The house was ridiculous – it was nice by American standards, big, with an outdoor pool, and a full kitchen with a dishwasher and everything.  We all brought various American dishes like deviled eggs, pasta salad, and peanut butter cookies, and it was all amazing.  The only thing that reminded us that we were in Mali was that our friend brought his salad in a big bucket because they didn’t have any dishes large enough for it in their Peace Corps house!

As far as I know there aren’t any other big holidays until Tabasci, which is the biggest holiday of the year and should be sometime at the end of November.  In Bambara they call it “seliba” which means “big feast” and I have heard that everyone kills a lamb to celebrate.  For Ramadan some families joined together to kill a cow, and I now, thanks to Becky, know how to identify and avoid the stomach and liver.



  1. Kris, Stay away from the stomach and liver. Don’t need them, I promise. Robby

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