WEDNESDAY, 8 JUNE 2011Robin, Michelle, Allan, Dana and Ana ran up to DC for the day to get visas from the Malian embassy for upcoming trips and to have a nice face-to-face with Adam Kaplan and his staff at Sister Cities International. The AUPAP latrine and maternity clinic renovation projects are moving, slowly, but steadily, towards construction even as we hold our breath that the work can get done before the rainy season takes a complete and slushy hold on Segou. We also discussed other projects of VFOM most, though not all, of which are centered on or based in Segou. Our annual visits to the Festival Sur Le Niger, hosting of friends visiting from Segou, intra-national youth film and photography projects, and the simple rewarding business of getting to know one another's countries and lifeways. All went well and we even managed to vacate the capital region by 3pm and so miss the exiting wall of traffic that is so many commuters' daily nightmare.
First Fridays means hitting the galleries and museums that are open for simultaneous opening receptions for new shows or are taking advantage of the extra pedestrian traffic to extend their normal hours. Robin and Michelle Poulton arrived in Richmond on Wednesday and so were able to meet Dana Wiggins, Ana Edwards, Bako and Fatim Sanogo at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center for a few hours. It was the first time that Bako, Fatim and Robin saw our VFOM exhibit Djita: Pearls of Wisdom from a Sister City. Dr. Elgersman-Lee (executive director), Mary Lauterdale (curator and assistant director) and Marcus Robinson (museum reception and gallery assistant) were on hand for their evening's program highlighting the artwork of Richmond area public school students - a VERY nice group of block prints - so please visit wwwBlackHistoryMuseum.org for details on that AND their current major exhibit, Pearls of Wisdom: Black Families and the Nobility of Everyday Living. Both exhibits run through July 1. It was a lovely night and hardly a precursor to the oven-degree temperatures we are now experiencing. Though I do love a warm summer evening, don't you...?