As part of my work here in Mali I help develop the skills and capacity of a Manager of one of our zones called Dialokoroba (said like Jal – o – core – o – ba). This means that I get to go to a series of villages throughout this zone observing our programs, and our staff to see ways that we can improve and work together. It is one of my favourite parts of my job. I love being in our communities. I get to talk to our farmers, their families, and see where they live, where they work, and where they live their lives.
The families we work with are warm and inviting and want to work hard to provide for their families. Their world is made up of their families, their community, and a list of chores that take hours limiting their time and capacity for working and earning money. When I visit our communities I see kids as young as four or five doing chores like washing laundry by hand or collecting bottles with their infant brother/sister tied to their back. Women haul water from wells that are deep and getting low as we are coming to the height of the dry season. Yet everyone I have met has been warm, welcoming, respectful and dedicated to improving their lives. I know I can’t fully be Malian but when I am in the village I don’t feel the need to be anything more than I am and I am happy just to be an observer and a part of our farmers lives.