Sunday, August 23, 2009

Get Packing....

I am going to Mali!! After a summer of uncertainty, Mali is just four days away. Africa is so very close, and I am getting more and more nervous by the day. However my academics have been struggling, so things I have to do before I leave:

  • finish the assigned books for the summer
  • practice my french
  • read more about Mali

But apart for my growing nerves I cannot wait to board the plane and take off. It will be incredibly life changing and probably one of the most important trips of my life. It will most likely shape what I will and will not do for my career and it will be awesome. I just want Thursday to be here.... but at the same time not really.

Today was the start of preparation for the trip. My family and I went out to collect all the necessities for Mali. The cart was full and I still feel completely under prepared. But instead of waiting until the last minute, I am packing it all today and tomorrow so that I know what I don't have and what needs to be where etc... Also I have to think of ideas for gifts, like homemade CDs, Vermont goods, and other objects that package America. Needless to say a lot is on my mind.

Yesterday, my boyfriend's dad invite me to a work picnic; he works for a company in Burlington the has many offices overseas and a very substantial one in Mali. At the picnic I spoke to a few people that have stayed at the company's location in Bamako and they could not stop talking about it. One said, "If you don't like Bamako, you don't like Africa." Another, "It was the best time of my life," and for my own personal measure, "Your french is good enough to survive in Mali." (this while not entirely positive, is refreshing) So I brought this news back to my mom and she has calmed down a bit. She also read "Men of Salt" by Michael Benanav, about a journey across the Sahara (where Mali is) in a caravan to find salt in Taoudenni, Mali. Although I will not be traveling that far north, it is nice to know that my mom has taken the time to do that. Thanks Ma!

Malian news.... Everyday I type "Mali News" into google. It has had mediocre results but still I am keeping up to date with what is going on. This past week the Malian government has tried to pass a new law giving women the right to receive inheritance and have more standing and choice within a marriage. Oddly enough it is being protested against not only by men but also by women. It has rubbed the shoulders of Muslim traditions and therefore the Sharia, the way Muslims live their lives. Therefore, not having a country ruled by Sharia, but instead an established political power separate of religion has hindered this country in an Islamic point of view. However there are still women, Muslim and not, who agree with this change in power within a lawful relationship. It will be interesting to see how it panes out while I am there. Being a woman I will not be given the same respect as a man, and I will have to make respectful changes while I am there.

A bientot (see I know my francais)

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