I have been here for a week and I still feel so thrilled and almost foreign in my own skin. Who wouldn’t when you stick out like a sore thumb and have very limited language skills to even communicate. So as I try to settle into my new home I am embracing the chaos and out of body experiences knowing it is all part of a bigger process of self development. At least, that’s what I tell myself to go to sleep at night!
Bamako is a sprawling city – busy chaotic, dusty, hot and so so friendly. There are very few traffic laws, MILLIONS of motorcycles, and commotion everywhere. I feel like my head is on a constant rotation as I take in all the sights, sounds, and experiences that this place has to offer.
We are starting the hot dry season now. Slowly but surely the days are getting hotter and hotter, drier and drier, and dustier and dustier. You can see red dust falling and coating everything like a fine desert snow. In spite of it all – people continue their daily lives. Soccer practice everyday at 7:00 am and again at 4:30 (in +30 heat!!) for many, groceries, chores, jobs, and life continues on in spite of the crazy heat.
Greetings are really important part of Malian culture so when you step outside the whole world greets you with a smile and a warm greeting to recognize your place in their family. It’s a strange dichotomy to balance this warm welcoming with the feelings of loneliness and slight homesickness for friends, family, and familiarity. I know I will get established here and I have to be patient but the limbo between then and now is an awkward sometimes uncomfortable time. So in the interim I am befriending neighbors, guards, and anyone else who will put up with my broken french and enthusiasm for my new home. Mali is a unique place in and of itself but it is interesting and so far I am happy to be here and be sharing these moments with these people.
All the love,