Mali is suffering. Last year’s drought, the rebellion in the North and the coup d’etat, all of them have contributed to the freefall of the Malian economy. Tourists as well as foreign NGO-workers have become a rarity and prices for basic needs have gone up.
With all of that in mind I wasn’t surprised to find the streets in Bamako more empty and quiet than three months before, when I left the country to spend the hot season in The Netherlands.
‘Monique, it is the hour of the Friday prayers’, Ibrahim reminded me, shaking his head with a smile on his face. Not even an hour later we found ourselves in an overload of Bamako traffic jams. Cars, minibuses and incredible numbers of mopeds and pedestrians all seemed to aim to move in the same direction.
Even though Mali is facing its worst crisis since it gained independence in 1960, Bamako is still a bustling capital with lots of things going on.