Segou clan gathered together early morning at the taining center and headed off for the Bittar Bus Transport to go to Segou-ville for a few days awaiting installation. I was to be installed on the 6th and we arrived on the 4th. We all took the time to go crazy in the markets and buy a bunch of thinngs that peace corps was required to take out to our sites. I bought a double framed bed and cotton mattress. They were not too happy about this when they had to load it onto the suv. But we made it. Everyone was pretty tired for the most part from the week long festivities during swear in. We took it easy and relaxed a lot and ate good foods.
We then moved on down to San, my sub-regional stage house. There are 15 of us in the San sub region. Our stage house looks like a Morroccan mirage.. sea blue tile floors, white washed walls, enormous plants along the side and a trapezoidal porch. From here we got to see where everyone in our region would be placed. It was good to establish this base.
Tominion. It is a town definately, but it is really small with about 2500 people, 2 quartiers. We have a major regional health center, world vision, several other ngos and most of the country headquarters. Tominion is a cercle centre, kind of like a county capital. So, accordingly, we have small luxuries like a cold coke stand that many of my team mates are unable to get.
The first day was wonderful. I love having my own place. It is amazing, even if the goats wake me up in the morning and try to get into the house when my door is open and even if the chickens peck at my shoes. I live in a concession with 2 other families and a school teacher. They are all really nice and have been very helpful on getting acclimated. We have a very nice court yard as well with 4 mango trees growing. I never before realized how important shade is until now. During site visit, we had 3 dogs, now we have 1. The family ate the other 2. I live with dog eaters. I tend to avoid the meat they try to give me, although one day I lucked out and got some good pork. We have more than 20 goats, chickens, donkeys, a horse and a dog. No, we do not live on a farm, this is in town. Everyone seems to have this amount of livestock.
My homologue, Salome Djarra, is a very intelligent woman with many plans. I am excited to begin work with her after my local language, Bobo/Bore/Bomu has improved. A woman's literacy center will start up in the next 2 months that I have been asked to help out on. She has also asked me for assisstance with the women's group caisse (bank). The coordinator of the women's associations is a very interesting lady too. I am real interested in working with her. She has her own import business from Burkina Faso and works with all the femme groups in the community. Her brother in law is a Dembele, so every time I go over there we have to insult each other. It normally ends up with him telling me that I am his slave and he has to beat me if i'm not good. This is a normal insult and can be said to strangers. When mom and Aunt Dottie come out, he made me promise that their names would be Dembele too. I think he wants to start a fight:)
I am also working once a week with a local shop keeper named Aly Kone. We go over his finances and I help him organize a record book for his shop. It is slow going and he doesn't seem to understand he should write down all business transactions. But we are making progress.
ok, i'll write more later. i've been on here too long and need a break.
....end of november......
went out to segou for thanksgiving but became dreadfully ill. don't know what it is but i waited it out until i could go back to site. sent a "mif kit" back to bamako. will see results later.