Temperatures are rising as the hot season is rapidly drawing near.
It’s not just the number of degrees getting higher – I’m guessing it’s close to 40 Celsius – it’s also the financial situation that’s getting hot for a lot of people.
The hot season is also known as the dead season, meaning that lots of things come to a kind of stand still. It being too hot to do a lot of things – other than hanging in and praying for a refreshing breeze and a good rainy season – it’s also the season you won’t really see any tourists.
Not seeing any tourists means no income for all those who are directly or indirectly depending on tourism. Would a lot of people usually at least have tried to save up a little bit for the upcoming months, this year it is different. Tourism was on an all time low as a result of the misleading information provided by pretty almost every embassy around the world (as mentioned in a previous blog about the safety in Mali) and whatever little money has been made in tourism has already been spent. Many a guide is considering to return to the home village soon to spend some time with family to be sure to find meals on a daily basis. Those are the lucky guys, being single and free to move; even making their family happy with their return. It’s not that easy for those having to support a family.
In the past few weeks I’ve already bought a tent to help someone, and decorations for the guestrooms (definitely not too high on my priority list those decorations) to help someone else.
Whenever I make it into town (which I already start avoiding) people are begging me to at least take a look in their shops. And the lady who makes delicious ginger juice and bissap, which we buy whenever we have guests over, phoned Amadou yesterday to ask him if we weren’t in need of any. So there’s a 1.5 liter bottle of ginger juice in the fridge right now.
Do I usually only have people over for a meal when I invite them or when they are here to work, yesterday I was quite surprised to find three guests for lunch. Two of them – one a friend of a friend I had never met before – leaving after having filled their stomach. Being really tired, I have to admit that I did feel a bit annoyed at first. I didn’t feel like having all those people around and still being in the first year of my company with lots of investments made and to make I can’t really pretend to be a very wealthy (financially speaking!) person myself at the moment.
But… I’m in Mali as the guys repeatedly have told me, so I’ll have to deal with it the Malian way! As long as I have food, it will be shared and as long as I have money it will be spent. I’m surrendering to the universal flow, trusting all is well, confident we’ll make it together to the end of the hot season to celebrate the start of the rains and a new tourist season!