We arrived in Mali to a very warm welcome. Not only was it hot, but we also were greeted my a handful of current volunteers. After waiting for our luggage (mine were obviously the last to arrive causing a slight panick attack), we took a short drive through the capital of Bamako to our training site at Tubaniso. We were shown to our living quarters, which were mud huts with thatched roofs which I am currently sharing with two other ED volunteers. We were then shown the latrines...yes I am going to the bathroom in a hole in the ground. Here in Mali, they are called negens (pronounced nyegen). Luckily at T-so, we have running pump water and electricity, so for now I am able to take a shower, use the internet, and even sleep cause we have a fan in the hut. I feel like I am staying at the Ritz!! So far the hottest part of the day is from 12-4pm, but after that it cools down and very unbearable. I even went for a run this morning with a couple other PCT's, and it is bearable!!
Our day is filled with information and orientation sessions. We have begun to learn Bambara, the most popular local Malian language, and it is so fun to learn!! It is so different from any other language that I have learnt. I will most likely dedicate an entire post to explaining the language, but here is a sneak peak:
Greetings are one of the most important aspects of the Malian culture. They are an elaborate converstation where one inquires all about the individual and their entire family (which usually contains multiple wives and therefore lots of kids), how their day has gone so far, how they slept the previous night, and then the exchange of blessings. For example, here is how a typical conversation might go:
a). I ni sogoma! (Good Morning)
b). Nse I ni sogoma. (Good Morning)
a). I ka kene? (How are you?)
b). Tooro te. (No problems)
a). Somogow be di? (How is your family?)
b). Tooro t'u la. (No problems)
And the conversation continues...
Normally, we have some down time in the evening. Some of the guys in my stage brought guitars and ukuleles, so last night we had a jam session to some hits from the 90's. Tonight, we are going to do some yoga to destress, and then hopefully get to bed early because nights have consisted of approx. 6 hrs of sleep.
Peace and Love to all