This weekend was the ultimate get away! Modibo, our teacher, planned an immense weekend away from Bamako for all of us and it was unreal.
First we drove six hours to Sikasso. No stops needed for the eager awaiting Americans. We got to Sikasso, ate an incredible lunch, and then relaxed until told. We then went to a pool. I have not had my whole body wet since August 28th, 2009, so being submerged in water was ridiculous and very much needed. We swam forever and found no need to leave the pool until we were driven back for dinner.
At dinner we literally had a four course meal. It was the best meal I have had for a month. We had vegetables, fruit, real meat without bones, and yogurt! It was a balanced meal! I could not believe my eyes. While I would like to go in depth about my meals I will refrain and just tell you we ate well.
Saturday, we toured around Sikasso. First a hike up a mountain the divides Muslims, Christians, and Pagan religions, yet all practice the religions within the mountain. It was neat and there were people praying all around us. That was neat and there was an incredible view of the surroundings at the top.
Then we traveled to the great wall of Sikasso. It was small and one could easily understand why it has been broken down twice. But nonetheless it had helped them out in the past. So that was interesting.
Next we went to the burial tomb of the king, but could not get in, and then the spot where the king used to look over the city. Both we also enjoyable but would have been cooler if we were not a group of twenty-one white people who everyone seemed eager to meet, sell things to, or meet up with later. But I guess we looked a little out of place.
After all this we got time to relax and then visited a waterfall. We were able to take some time to ourselves and also with each other but there were never any time constraints. It was a fabulous weekend.
This morning we piled in the car and came back. It was just as fun. I think that Sikasso is much cleaner than Bamako and easier to manage. But Bamako does have everything.
On another note I took the time to think about my ISP, or Independent Study Project. I am going to study the effects of hand washing through Health Education, Hospitals, and NGOs in Bamako, Mali. While seeming odd you would not understand how many people just rinse their hands with water and then prepare food, eat, or mend their wounds. It seems easy to just say wash your hands with soap, but there are obviously many things obstructed people from being able to properly wash their hands. From accessibility, expenses, education, or ignorance. I would like to delve into these obstacles and attempt to gain a better understand of why, and then of why not.
So first I am going to visit all levels of schools. Next I will visit clinics and/or hospitals so see their programs to teach as well as practices. After this I will see the teachings and aspirations of local NGOs to help daily hygiene as well as water treatment. I would like to see the thought process, teaching, and follow up of one program to grasp the ideas behind each.
While November seems miles away, I only have one month to do all of this! So I have to start making appointments now and connections. I sound like an old man trying to start a business but I need to know what I am doing now so I can do it later. It is hard to put it all in my mind but I think I can do it.
I also may or may not be able to load photos soon, so you may be able to see me in the near future! Life in Mali is rapidly getting more and more tech filled.
But other than that, a weekend away from Bamako did me good. It gave me time to think, sleep, and get to know people better. There are only 21 of us but it allows for some people to be pushed out or in, so I was given a chance to talk to some of the people I haven’t. I was glad that I did, now I know some people better and got a break from some of the others.
Until next time! I think this week we are going to a fabric store, I will fill you in on all the juicy details!