Posted by: kristinej | November 3, 2009

November 3rd

You know you’ve been in Mali too long when: it drops below 80 degrees and you need a sweater.


It rained all day yesterday and the temperature plummeted (relatively speaking) so that at night I was actually chilly and had to break out my blanket and fleece pajama pants.  I was actually wearing more than my Malian family, which didn’t seem quite right considering I’ve lived through American winters, and considering they put on winter coats when Americans might consider wearing a long-sleeve shirt.  Regardless, cool season is definitely coming.   I celebrated this morning with an hour-long run, the longest I’ve managed so far.


I’ve ventured into the grand marché (the big market) a couple of times recently and now that I speak some Bambara it’s actually been kind of fun.  Last week I went with Daniella, and we bought some sandals in the artisana area.  After bargaining the price down, Daniella said that she wanted a gift from the sellers since we had just bought something from them, and the guy asked what she wanted and she told them that we both wanted Cokes, and they actually agreed and went and bought us Cokes.  So we sat down at their shop and the guy pulled out a Mancala game and we played a couple of rounds of that, right there in the market, while we finished our drinks.


I went again on Saturday and bought some fabric from a guy whose last name was the same as mine and it was fun because my last name is not that common, and so here was finally someone who could tell me who my joking cousins were.  After I bought the fabric he wanted to take me to greet his wife, who was selling crafts in another area of the market, and I agreed because he seemed genuinely nice and we had already established that I had an American husband.  So we walked over there and I met his wife and their little baby, who he plopped in my arms and who was the cutest little thing ever – I really wanted to take him home with me.


My little 3 year old host sister, who is very thoughtful and quiet for a 3 year old, seems to finally be warming up to me.  She always asks where I’m going, even if it’s late at night and I’m not going anywhere, and she has started peeking in my room and waving at me and then dashing away.  The cutest thing is when she takes an old piece of fabric and has her mom or sister tie her stuffed animal on her back like the women here carry their babies.  I have yet to get a picture of this, but it makes me laugh every time.


In other news, we just moved into a new office.  With five volunteers on the ground now, in addition to our Malian staff, we desperately needed a bigger space, as we were crowded into two room smaller than my freshman year dorm room.  Our new office has six rooms and three bathrooms (with toilets and sinks!), so that we can now have separate offices for each program.  Before and after pictures to come soon.


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