Wednesday without words


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You know you’ve been in Mali too long when…

Most of these have been posted on a Facebook group with this name. I edited some and added my own:

You know you’ve been in Mali too long when…

…you are personally offended by short skirts.

…you reuse Ziploc bags until they literally fall apart and after washing them you stick ’em to the wall to dry.

…you get excited when the thermometer reads only 40°C/104°F.

…you LOVE mangoes (in any forms- bread, dried, juice, whole…).

…you have multiple uses for your Air France eye mask.

…you no longer tremble at Bamako traffic.

…you run outside to see it rain.

…your clothes dry on the line in 10 min.

…you know somebody who has called Jorge Busch or ATT from Armee’s taxi.

…you’ve been offered at least 6 cows and 3 camels as dowry.

…you’ve been asked more than once to become a Malian man’s second or third wife.

…you had Malian women offering their husbands to you because they have pity on you for not being married.

…you find ants in your drink and think… huh, more protein.

…you never stop sweating.

…you have forgotten what real milk tastes like.

…your javel (chlorine) bottle is always at hand.

…you catch yourself saying… Yum- rice and sauce.

…you are cold because it’s only 20°C/68°F and its just too cold.

…you are getting excited when a lizard or gecko is crawling up your room wall because at least the flies and mosquitoes are getting eaten.

…you see a guy carrying a bench or a pile of chairs on his head, or on the back of a moto (moped), and you think nothing of it.

…you received a live chicken as gift from people and knew what to do with it.

…you accept to share a glass of tea the size of a shot with a shop owner.

…you think nothing of a man walking through a gas station selling this tea on a silver platter.

…you don’t notice when the traffic crawls in four lines where there are only two lanes and a bike lane.

…you are not surprised to see two adults and two children riding on one moto.

…you are not shocked when you pass five speed bumps in a row and the sotrama driver doesn’t even slow down.

…you are used to seeing a mud hut next to two large satellite dishes.

…you are content with sitting on one buttock only when riding on a sotrama because the apparentie (driver’s assistant) stuffed more than 20 people in the back of the minivan.

…you are always prepared to stop your car in the middle of nowhere because a herd of cows needs to cross the road.

…you know that it is unwise to offer a lift in you car to women with a calabash on their heads.

…you find it perfectly normal when two finely-dressed women are talking to each and one carries a bag of onions on her head.

…you don’t expect the bus to be air-conditioned because it says so on the outside.

…you know that a non-air-conditioned bus will be cooler than an air-conditioned bus because you can open the windows.

…you hold your paper cash notes from the corner.

…you know that you can’t return from a trip without giving everyone you know a cadeaux (present).

…you get excited when Azar’s got a new stock of cat food.

…you have seen someone with a leg of raw meat from some unfortunate creature strapped to the back of their moto.

…you travel without a toothbrush because you can always find a stick from a nem tree.

…you think of a religious sacrificial object when somebody uses the word “fetish.”

…you shudder away from kissing sounds.

…you realize how boring your dreams are when you run out of mefloquine (malaria prophylaxis).

…your feet are dirty and cracked and stay that way for the first three weeks back in your home country.

…you wonder where all these toubabs (white people) come from when you go home.

…you can’t help saying “toubabou, toubabou, toubabou” when a white person walks by.

…you order Coca light instead of Diet Coke when back home.

…you get back home and realize that you forgot that there is such a thing as a weather forecast.

…you have an instant shock reaction when somebody back home pays or gives something with his/her left hand.

…you have been back home for many years and you still say doni doni (slow slow, little little).

Feel free to suggest more if you know you’ve been in Mali too long because you …

Christmas in the village

Since I am often asked what Christmas looks like here, I wanted to share a little bit about it, before we enter into the new year. Every year is different. This time it was the first time that I was without my colleague in the village and also celebrated on the 24th alone (according to German tradition).
The Friday before Christmas we had a nice celebration with colleagues in the next larger town. Actually, people from three different organizations joined us. We sang Christmas carols in English, German, Norwegian and French. It was a really nice evening.
The national church mostly celebrates with a service on the 25th. At this occation it is not uncommon that members of the majority religion here celebrate with us or at least stop by to deliver their congratulations. We had invited several families from our village to the service in the next market town. This is usually a bigger operation to get everybody transported there. Also, after the service there has to be a big meal followed by several rounds of tea. All in all a program for a whole day.
Therefore it seemed me to be wise not to plan too much for the 24th. I had a nice supper with candle light. Then I sang several carols and took time to praise the Lord for the miracle of Christmas. Afterwards I put on some nice music and made myself cozy with a book. As a special treat I made myself some pita-chips. All together nothing special but it was a very relaxing Christmas eve which I enjoyed a lot.

Weihnachten im Dorf

Nachdem die Frage immer wieder aufkommt, will ich (bevor das alte Jahr zu Ende geht) kurz berichten, wie Weihnachten hier aussieht. Jedes Mal ist es anders.
Diesmal war es das erste Mal, dass ich ohne meine Kollegin im Dorf war und den 24. auch alleine gefeiert habe. Am Freitag davor hatten wir eine nette Feier mit verschiedenen Kollegen in der nächsten Stadt, wo Mitarbeiter von drei verschiedenen Organisationen dazu kamen. Die Weihnachtslieder haben wir dementsprechend in Englisch, Deutsch, Norwegisch und Französisch gesungen. Es war wirklich nett.
Die einheimische Kirche feiert Weihnachten meistens mit einem Gottesdienst am 25.Dezember. Dabei ist durchaus üblich, dass Freunde von der Mehrheitsreligion hier mit uns feiern oder zumindest zum Grüßen vorbei kommen. So hatten wir auch mehrere Familien aus unserem Dorf eingeladen mit in den Gottesdienst in der Marktstadt zu kommen. Das ist dann immer eine größere Aktion alle dort hin zu transportieren. Außerdem gehört dann auch ein großes Festessen dazu, gefolgt von mehreren Runden Tee. Alles in Allem ein Ganztagsprogramm also.
Aus diesem Grund schien es mir weise am 24. nichts Großartiges zu planen. So habe ich es mir am Abend gemütlich gemacht. Nach einem guten Abendessen mit Kerzen, sang ich einige Weihnachtslieder und nahm mir Zeit Gott für das Weihnachtswunder zu danken. Danach machte ich es mir bei schöner Musik mit einem Buch gemütlich. Insgesamt ein sehr geruhsames Weihnachtsfest, das ich genossen habe.

Von wegen kein Salat

So kann man sich täuschen. Ich dachte, ich müsste diese Woche ohne Salat
auskommen. Und dann wurde mir diese Schüssel ins Haus gebracht. Das sollte
für eine Woche reichen. 😉 Vor allem die Riesenradieschen.

Did I say no salad?

I thought this would be a week without salad. True, there is no lettuce in our garden. But there are many other things.

Shortly after my arrival Idrissa brought me this whole bowl of produce that should be plenty for one week.

Especially one of those huge radish was enough for one salad.