I’ve written before about the seasons in Mali, so you may not be surprised to read that we’re in the cold season at the moment.
Cold and warm being relative values becomes clear when you’re used to winters with snow, ice and below zero temperatures and are traveling to a country like Mali. While you’re enjoying summer temperatures, feeling quite warm in shirts with short sleeves, Malians may walk the streets all dressed up for a skating or skiing party.
I’ve had some laughs over it when I first traveled to Mali and I meet many a tourist talking about it. Still, it’s not as strange as it seems to be. When you realize that during Mali’s hot season temperatures easily go up to 45 Celsius, 20 degrees is relatively cold. Malian bodies are just not used to these ‘low’ temperatures, so logically people do dress up accordingly.
Even my body has over time adjusted to the higher temperatures, giving me a cold feeling this season.
This year people may even more feel the need of wearing warm clothes. The rainy season came with little rain, the water level in the river is low and as a result many crops have dried in the fields. Even though the president has asked the people not to sell any rice, millet and other cereal to other countries, the need for money is too high for many a Malian to let go of the chance to earn some money and feed their family.
Granaries have not (sufficiently) been refilled.
Water levels are low.
Prices are going up.
Tourism (one of the most important pillars of the Malian economy) is on an all time low.
While the cold season is usually known as a good season in terms of harvesting and tourism, this year it seems to be another dead season.
The next rainy season may not start before the end of June 2012 and that the next tourist season may be even further in the future. All around people are losing weight already due to not having the money for food. I’m wondering what will happen in the months to come.