19 January 2011

Halfway through

Halfway through this year's visit to Mali and I've visited Bamako, Segou, Koutiala and I may get to Sikasso. I got here in time for the last of the Harmattan, seasonal winds that keep the days looking smoggy and the nights looking smoky and sexy like an old jazz nightclub. But nothing's old or jazz about the music scene here. I've only had a taste and really, it is gorgeous.

The photo above was taken in Markala at the local civil social services coordinating agency. Kida is on the right and the man directly to his left is the agency's director. Our visit was quick, but almost every social services issue a community can have touches base or is coordinated through this agency.

In terms of the business at hand, I've visiting all three of the AUPAP project sites, taken photos and am in the process of writing my reports. In all three instances the need is clear. And, as I was going through the photos from last February's visit to Les Poupons I discovered one shows at least 30 five-year-children lined up waiting in turn to use one of the 3 functioning adult-sized latrines.

At the public market site there are no public facilities at all and the market holds some 2,000 people on any given day. Men use the walls of nearby buildings and people in real need crowd the nearby Maison d'Impots. The director's office is on the second floor and overlooks one of the main walls used by men in need. He shook his head as he described what the smell is like during the summer months... At the CSCOM site, all rooms are too small and overused, the roofs routinely flood during rainy season and the grounds become almost impassable swamps between the main office and the maternity unit. For a site that serves the surrounding neighborhood and 10 villages (up to 44,000 people) providing new latrines is just the beginning of the tip of the iceberg. In any event it is clear these projects were well chosen for low cost high impact results.

06 January 2011

In Bamako til Friday

Report: first leg of journey to Mali for 2011. I will represent the VFOM at this year's festival and begin official documentation of the AUPAP site work when I arrive in Segou this weekend. I had a one day layover in Dakar Senegal to visit with my father and stepmother at their home and my aunt who was visiting Africa for the first time. My father determined my one day in Dakar was best spent on two sites: GorĂ©e Island and the new national monument of Senegal. When you understand the geography of the slave trade era you recognize that this is part of the history of Mali's people as well.

Voici les images: