Journeying, malaria, festival time and empty gas bottles

Mali Pays Dogon-hiking journey
What to say? Our first 2011 journey was just awesome! We had the most wonderful guests and a great trip to Djenné, through Dogon Country and at our home base Ségou. How I love to take people of the beaten tourist tracks to have them experience the simplicity and beauty of every day life in Mali. And our guests? They absorbed it, were maybe a bit overwhelmed in the first couple of days, but loved it just as much as we did.
Being out in the country, far away from my computer, even out of reach of mobile connection, living with the rhythm of the sun, the moon and the stars, I once again realized I could easily get used to it. And even when I’m returning to places I’ve been before I am still surprised to find and experience new things. The absolute winner this time? Watching the crocodiles sunbathing while the local people were working all around them, in perfect divine harmony!

A bit of a bummer was that I caught malaria once more. The doctor warmly welcomed me to the Ségou hospital again and didn’t seem to have any trouble subscribing me a whole bunch of medications, which I would have loved to ignore. If only it weren’t quite a bad timing with crowds of festival guests soon to arrive. I threw out the antibiotics and worked my way through the other stuff, feeling a bit better day after day.

Festival sur le Niger

With me being in bed most of the day, Amadou finds himself extremely busy, doing an awesome job on accommodating all our guests. He’s housekeeper, night guard and gardener all in one. Add taking care of the needs of all guests and preparing breakfast every morning and I can only pray he’ll make it till the end of the festival. Luckily one of his brothers is of great help too!
Having had such wonderful guests on our journey it was a bit of a shock to find some quite different experiences so shortly after. Apparently you need to lock up your kitchen to avoid people from taking the freedom to start preparing meals on your last gas bottle, including using up your kitchen stocks…

Water, electricity and gas…
That water and electricity cannot be relied on in Mali is a fact and most of the time we’ll manage well to work around it. But what to do when you can’t buy any gas bottles? We returned home with an empty gas bottle and sure enough the other one had also reached it’s end when we were traveling. Usually you go to the store to exchange them for a few thousand cfa’s, easy like that. However, with the unstable political situation in Ivory Coast all gas transports to Mali seemed to have stopped and gas was simply not available. Luckily Ibrahim was willing to give me his – also almost empty – bottle to help me out. And finally Amadou managed to buy a very expensive new bottle in Bamako. And yes, yesterday a truck with gas bottles had finally arrived in Ségou. Prices have doubled, but at least we can cook again 🙂

A few more days with our festival guests and after that life goes back to ‘normal’. Maybe I’ll even manage to follow up on the one month rest the doctor advised me. That is, if website adjustments, administration, promotions and the creation of the 2011/2012 journey schedule etcetera don’t count as working too hard…

About MoInMali

Monique is the founder of Papillon Reizen, a Mali based travel agency specialized in inspiring journeys in Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. Fair-trade and with a heart for people, environment and culture. Small-scale group journeys as well as family trips and journeys tailored to your wishes. We love to share West Africa's beauty with you and take you on a journey to experience rather than to see. Monique lives in Mali with her Malian partner and shares some of her daily life experiences with you through this blog. For information on Papillon Reizen:
This entry was posted in Culture, Electricity, Feelings, Health, Mali, Papillon Reizen, Time, Uncategorized, Water and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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