Posted by: kristinej | June 23, 2010

June 23rd

My last few weeks here in Mali will be characterized by two things: Goodbyes and the World Cup.

The World Cup started on June 11th, and though Mali isn’t part of it, the whole country is still watching.  Since not everyone has electricity, every afternoon and evening you will find groups of men sitting outside huddled around a tv.  I’ve only watched a couple of games since the action is not that exciting on our little tv that cuts in and out, but it’s still hard not to get caught up in the excitement.  My younger host brother and I have found something to bond over as he keeps me updated on the latest scores and matchups.  And if you’ve watched even one game you’ve probably heard the song from the Coke commercials at least ten times – it’s pretty funny hearing my siblings trying to sing along with the English lyrics, although my host dad, who speaks some English, does a pretty accurate rendition.

With Becky leaving on July 1st and me on the 17th, we decided to have a joint going-away party at our office for the whole Project Muso team.  We were expecting about 60 people, between our core team, the community health workers, and the education facilitators.  Since everyone was expecting a big party, we bought a sheep and 30 kilos of rice and had some women prepare the meal for us.  Despite a rain storm that morning almost everyone came and we got to show off our fancy basin outfits and take lots of pictures.  And aside from some minor stresses (the rice was 2 hours late, people complained that there wasn’t enough meat, and some neighbor women came by and demanded a huge bowl of rice) I think that everyone had a good time.

We will probably still have another small party at Nana’s house (Moise has offered to kill a few of the rabbits he raises) and I plan to have a small birthday/goodbye party for my family right before I leave.  In addition, our American directors Ari and Jess will be coming at the beginning of July, so these next 3 weeks are sure to be full of activity.

As for how I feel about my impending departure, it will be sad to say goodbye to so many good friends, knowing that I will probably never see them again, but I am excited to see my family and friends back home and am definitely ready for air conditioning, a comfy bed, and a steady supply of vegetables.  I have been looking for jobs in the DC area and will hopefully be moving there in the fall, but before then I have a wedding to attend and lots of people to visit, so I’m also excited for that.

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