I got in on Saturday night, after a long and mostly uneventful journey. Unfortunately, as I was getting onto my last flight, I did something to my back that really hurt, and I’ve been walking like an old man ever since. At least it had the positive side effect of giving me something to laugh about with the family I’m staying with!
The drive from the airport was really interesting – there are people everywhere, and everyone is so beautiful! A lot of the men wear these long tunic things, and most women are dressed in beautiful, colourful outfits. There was a soccer match last night, and so the roads were packed with people on motorcycles driving around everywhere. I don’t think I could drive here… One of my colleagues bought a motorcycle, and I think he’s insane!
When I got to my house, my colleague Alice was there – she’s been living her since May. She’s from Burkina Faso (Mali’s neighbour) and is comfortable with the culture and language of Mali. I am temporarily renting a room where Alice lives, which is very interesting – it’s a huge house with the grandma and grandad, one of their sons and his wife and their two young kids, as well as a handful of help and friends coming and going all the time – Alice tells me this is because Ramadan just finished and people are stopping in to wish each other well. The first thing I did when I got ‘home’ was get on with setting up my mosquito net. Have you ever tried setting a mosquito net while being bent in half because of back pain? Not easy, but the result was great! I promise it feels like being a princess! I went to the living room to watch an Indian soap opera dubbed in french with Alice and the grandmother, and then I went to sleep – for 13 hours!! Guess I was tired!
On Sunday, Alice and I had bread and coffee for breakfast and went for a walk around the neighbourhood. We got home and had lunch, something called ‘riz gras’. I think that it’s rice cooked in fish sauce and tomatoes but I could be wrong – either way, it tasted great!
After lunch we met with the taylor. I’m going to have one of those cool outfits made next week, to be ready in time for Tabaski, this muslim ‘sheep festvial’. Otherwise, we sat around with the kids and watched videos on MTV.
I don’t think I’m going to stay in this house for more than a couple of weeks. The family is very friendly, and the neighbourhood seems nice, but I’m going to try to find out about living with other expats, and maybe even somewhere with hot water!
Today is my first day of work, which involved a lot of driving around through crazy traffic. I’ll try and make a video soon. Now, I think I need to get to work!
Hope everyone is well!
Love from Africa!