Well I did it. I branched out from the confines of work organized housing and got a place nearby. I had heard horror stories of trying to find a place up to North American standards here in Bamako. First there is a problem of actually finding a place. Remember: we don’t have a lot of successful up-to-date google searches so you have to rely on your own network and word of mouth to find places to live. Luckily there is an email listserv that helps with this and someone contacted me about the place.
The new place is great – I share a courtyard with a wonderful Malian family who have been incredibly welcoming and helpful. They had to build me a kitchen inside (note to self: renovation life is not for me), because most Malians cook and eat outside so there was no real kitchen. They screened in the porch, added a bedroom A/C and added did a few other things and now I have a great apartment!
Now comes the part of furnishing it – there is no ikea, target, or other one stop shop. So to get a couch you go to one guy, the cushions/covers another guy, the drapes, mosquito nets, shelves, desks, tables and chairs, they all come from separate guys who are in separate locations around the city. It’s been three weeks since I have moved in and while I am very thankful for the new place the allure of getting to furnish my very own apartment is loosing it’s excitement now. I want to be settled, to feel at home, to welcome people into my home and yet I’m fighting the feelings of frustration as I wait for missed deadlines on things to bring me closer to finished, and tired as my determination and perseverance to trot all over Bamako in a logistical nightmare we call life.
A few more weeks and I think it will be done – and I for one and am looking forward to that moment.