After a long and greuling week of delivering over 41 tonnes of agricultural inputs (seeds, tools, and fertilizers) we were kindly rewarded with a surprise day off to recuperate a bit before heading back to the grind. So on Monday I took some time and headed to the Foret de la Faya.
This 80,000 hectare national reserve is home to many of Mali’s wildlife and fauna. It was nice to get away from the city and get lost in the magic of something other and magnificent. I needed to get away from the grime of Bamako and the forest was a great way to do it.
Just one hour of the city I found a guide by checking with the local Water and Forest Department, that had a post on the side of the road just at the start of the forest. You need a guide because you don’t know these forests and the animals hidden in it’s leafy canopy can be deadly. So I arranged a guide, his name was Salifou Dembele and he has spent the last 30 years living and working this forest – helping in the reforestation of his homeland by hand planting thousands of trees. He has advocated for burn roads, for deeper water supplies, and for the protection of the forest itself. He led me through the vines, and leaves, and trees and pointed things out and let me explore – it was a great balance of being led and not controlled – a rare occurrence of finding the right balance here in Bamako.
I spent the afternoon walking in and among trees that were easily 300 years old standing tall and strong. I crunched leaves that burned by Mali’s intolerable sun were decomposing waiting for the rains to start to finish what had been started. We saw birds of translucent blues, and blacks, and reds. It was a brief visit but a good one. A definite repeat to hear more about what the forest has to stay.
Stay tuned for pictures!
All the love,