Monday, 9 August 2010

More Moments in Mali

I decided to cook one day so after my “grocery shopping experience” at the Djenne Monday Market, I came back to my residence. This morning, however, was a naming ceremony for a baby girl and a goat was sacrificed. For some reason the head of the goat was left in the kitchen. I let out a little yelp when I saw it, to which the people around laughed, covered its head with a piece of cloth, and assured me it was dead and that it wouldn’t do anything. Somehow I managed to cook my meal in the same room as the goat head.

Sitting across from me, on the way to Timbuktu, was a guy whose pants were now brown and orange. I realized his pants were once white, and I was once excited to go to Timbuktu. But sitting in the boot of a car made for about six or seven people total, instead it held 19—one man rode on top with the luggage, sitting on half a seat, in full body contact with at least two other people, covered in dust and orange sand, sweating constantly, and my body slamming into the window every time we rode over a bump, I was definitely less than thrilled about Timbuktu, never knowing how far we were or if this place even existed. This was now the fourth and supposedly last leg of the trip, the previous three transfers no more enjoyable. How 19 people and a whole lot of luggage managed to make it to Timbuktu, I’m not completely sure..
In the end I did make it there and they stamped my passport. It exists!

Right outside the town of Timbuktu is the vast Sahara desert. And it’s beautiful. During my second night there, I went out to the sand dunes and caught the sun setting in the vast open desert. Afterwards, while coming back into town, I somehow caught myself in the middle of a goat stampede! It was nuts! Out of nowhere, hundreds of goats were running in my direction. I got out of the way as quickly as possible and attempted to catch a picture, but only caught the end bit of the stampede!

During my Senegal trip literally everywhere I went someone asked me if I was Pulaar/Fulaani, especially when my hair was braided and I was nice and dark. The Fulaani people tend to be lighter in skin tone and have smaller frames. The same would happen in Mali. Most of the boys I hung out with were Fulaani. So once again, I was an honorary Fulaani girl. Sorri said I was a member of the long-sleeve family and called me his sister from another mother.
One day we were sitting across the Djenne mosque on a hot, idle afternoon and two very traditional looking Pulaar girls from a nearby village came up and told the boys I looked Pulaar. They were in Djenne that day to sell milk that they carried in baskets on their heads.

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