Monday, October 19, 2009

Last weeks of class

Bamako got the better of me this past week. I was told the most heart wrenching news to date. Last week a man was caught in the act of stealing by the people of the quartier. Because stealing is such a huge cultural taboo this man was beaten where he was found. He was then dragged to a bigger intersection and more people took turns beating him. There was a huge circle and people would take turns hitting him with whatever they could find, from belts to large branches. This man was beaten until he was not recognizable and apparently his skull had cracked. At this point the people left him there and then called the police. This has been my one eye opening moment in Mali. I have walked through and seen the hospitals and know how then run. I have visited and spoken to many Malians about the police force in Mali. This was the first time I knew in my whole life that no matter what people would do for this man who was beaten until he was almost dead, he was going to die. If he was taken to a hospital, they don’t have the technology to fix a broken skull, or that amount of blood loss. If the police were called earlier, then would have done nothing to the neighborhood and nothing to the man, thus not allieveating the problem at all. But when they were called they still could do absolutely nothing because the man was about to die. I have never felt so low and so helpless, although I know it is culturally acceptable I wish to never hear of witness this again.

This week also marked the last week of classes. That also meant three weeks until we start our research for our final project. For me I am completely overwhelmed but three incredible things did happen this week that lessened my stress a little.

First, I had a meeting with ARD. ARD, Assistants in Rural Development, is an organization based in Vermont that helps developing countries. They analyze and critique what is going on in the country and aid smaller NGOs with their work so that they have the funds to start and finish their projects. My meeting was my first to date and very helpful. The man explained their new project, WAWI, Western Africa Water Iniative, and got me in contact with some of the smaller players in the project. Just knowing that it was so simple to get in contact with an organization as well as make a good connection was a good feeling for my first meeting. Also I got invited to play Flag Football. I can say it was time well spent, and next Sunday I will be on the field.

Second, I had a meeting with UNICEF. This was truly unbelievable. I got a meeting with the Water, Hygiene, and Sanitation Specialist with my research project being on hygiene. I was thrilled and the man literally mapped out my project. Section by section he wrote what I needed, what he knew and what would be the best approach, I feel like I am already done. Also when I asked if there were any internship or volunteer possibilities he said he email me back as soon as possible with all he knew about UNICEF opportunities, so if that works out that would be ideal.

Thirdly, I found where I am living. My friends and I went on a house hunt and found a house, incredible safe and incredible close to many NGOs in the area. I am excited to be in a place first of all safe, and second of all not where I have to tip toe around trying to find anything. I will be able to cook for myself and may stray from the nightly cukes and tomatoes. I am looking forward to have a comfortable outlet in a time where I will be incredibly stressed.

Until next time and I will try and keep you well informed.

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