Posted by: kristinej | March 3, 2010

March 3rd

As I have been complaining to anyone asks, and to those who don’t, hot season has arrived.  Temperatures have been around 105-107 degrees everyday, which even Malians say is uncharacteristically warm for late February.  And apparently cold season was shorter and not nearly as “cold’ as usual.  Figures.  So we’re here sweating it out, and our daily discussions in the office consist of ways to cope with the heat, such as:

– Sleep on a hard Malian pillow rather than your cushy American one, which soaks up more sweat.

– Keep a bucket of water by your bed, and when you wake up in the middle of night sweating, give yourself a sponge bath and go back to sleep.  Repeat every hour or as often as needed.

– Carry extra shirts with you so that when you sweat through one, you can change into the other while the old one dries out.  Again, repeat as often as needed.

I happen to be extremely lucky in that my house has a roof that

I can sleep on.  My older host siblings started sleeping up there a couple of weeks ago and I joined them last week.  It is 100% better than sleeping inside.  So, each night now I just carry my mattress, pillow, and bug tent (it’s white with pink frills,  very cute) up there and set up camp.

My bed on the roof

With work I’ve been keeping busy with the education program and have had various day-long meetings of late.  Yesterday I attended the first day of a training at Tostan’s office in Bamako.  It was to prepare the supervisors to train new Community Management Committees in each of the zones where we have classes.  These committees will be responsible for supporting the classes and for mobilizing the community to improve their well-being through community development efforts.  This is one of the ways that Tostan helps participants apply the skills they learn in class, and also to ensure that development is community-driven.

Last weekend was Daniella’s birthday, so to celebrate she made a big salad and bought sodas for her family and we had dinner there on Sunday night.  She also had a balloon-animal kit that her mom had sent, so Becky and I were charged with entertaining the crowd of children while she made the salad.  We managed to make some decent swords and dogs, and some really awesome snakes (hard to mess that up).  Then, after dinner, we somehow decided that we would teach the kids the macarena and so entertained everyone by doing the dance in unison.  A neighbor was taking a video on his phone, so we just hope that he doesn’t know about youtube.

As a side note, I got an email about this documentary about a Malian woman in Philadelphia (my two worlds intersect!) who was applying for asylum because she knew that if she and her family went back to Mali, their 2 year old daughter would be forced to undergo female genital cutting.  There is a trailer at the following website, and it has clips of Mali and people talking in Bambara, so check it out!


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