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december holidays 2002

christmas and the new year

To the disgruntlement of my christian town, I left to meet up with my region PCVs in San for Christmas.  I think they were more feigning their protest, but it was a nice display of affection they gave me.
I waited most of the day to get a baschee, those dilapidated vans crammed with passengers, and finally one came through at around noon.  We stopped by at the local prison and picked up a friend....  hahaha.... the warden at the prison, and then we went on to San.
San is 50k away from my site.  I timed it (sometimes you have to create your own amusement).  It took 15 min to get from my grated road to the biduron, 16 minutes to get from their to Somo, the next volunteer's site, Julie Westfall, and then 14 minutes from their to the customs post, which they have outside of every city.  Here, we waited precisely 15 minutes while I watched the driver sip tea with the gendarme and slip a small sum of cfa into his hand.  I was eating raw peanuts.  A herd of garibous* were watching me, softly chanting allah blessings.  The driver then got in and it too 12 minutes to arrive at our parking place. 
(*garibous are the muslim children sent to beg on the streets.  their families give them to a maribou who teaches them the koran and they are expected to live in humility, begging for food and money and living in poverty.  they are, however, very mischievious and sometimes aggressive, so like the wildlife, they are something to be wary of)
It was Wed, not a market day, so I was able to jump quickly off and make my way to our San stage house.  This place is nice.  It reminds me of something you would see in a Morroccan travel brochure.  Most of the crew had already gathered and we sat around cooking, eating like scavengers and happily bickering and picking on each other with much laughter and amazingly tolerance.  At one point, when Adam Killian, who is a master meat cooker!!!!!!!  finished with the bbq pork, Dan King, Keith and I were scraping the bottom of the bowl with our fingers and nails, shoving the last morsels in our mouths.  Pork is such a delicacy around here.  I couldn't help but drool.  Dan actually said, "Alexis, you just drooled!".  We seem to really have gotten to each other, all in a good way.  I think I lucked out with the rest of Segou-kaw. 
We also took some great pictures of the Segou boys.  We have decided that we are going to make a calendar to sell to the rest of Mali PC.  Each month will feature one of our boys in a delightful pose.  It was a lot of fun thinking of their modeling poses!!!! 
I went off to Segou after that to get some fabric for a dress being made and also to talk to mom and pops.  When I got there, I had another bout of sickness and discovered that there was a medical box in my mailbox.  The note attatched said "Alexis- you have amoebas and gardia.  start taking this medication immediately."  along with frightening descriptions of side effects and the effects of the sickness if I don't take the drugs.  Nice to know the info travels so quickly here!
3 days later, after dealing with the farsigen, Mayli, Dan, Dave and I made our way to Mopti for the New Year.  We picked up Rugi on the way in Bla, where he lives.  It was great seeing him get on the random bus we had taken.  7-8 hour ride and we entered Mopti.  It's nice there.  Sevare is where the stage house is and we all settled in and said hi.  i was still feeling a bit ill from the medication and didn't do too much.  I did sign on to go to the Salif Keita concert for new years night.  It was great.  A small group of us went and we had a blast.  One of the opening acts just lip sinked to her tape with out her back up singers nor her band, which made it a bit comic when the chorus sang to some funky beats.  Then Salif came on and it was incredible.  We were all invited up next to the stage and my friend Adam Klein, who will be the next rock star in Mali, got pulled up on stage.  He has already written a bunch of songs in bambara that sound great. 
New Years was a lot of fun.  We jumped on a bus afterwards and headed home for some sleep. 

january 2003