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ali in mali
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august 2003

It's now been 5 months since I've written. 
August started out with me coming out of site and into Bamako.  I have told everyone in my village that I will be moving to Segou to take the Peace Corps Volunteer Leader position.  My host mom was not so happy, and truthfully, I will really miss her and the family.  Things had changed at the house though.  The 2 boys had left to go harvest in their villages and Gabriel's wife, child and sister had moved in to help out.  Mary will also be moving to Segou or Bandiagara for school.  Hopefully, she'll be in Segou.
So I left site in the begining of August.  As I walked down the road, I looked back and G'boy was watching me with his tail down.  It was very sad.  I sat with Aly and Oumar most of the day.  Spoke with Ezekias and Shadrock and talked about future volunteers in site.  I know now that I won't be replaced, but I was pretty sure that I would be at this point and filled them in on the plan.  Ezekias would've been homologue.  And the volunteer would help start the newspaper business.  It could have been interesting.  Instead, I have just given them the Self-Help Fund application and wished them the best.
So getting to Bamako, we began the pre-TOT SED retreat.  That is the meeting to plan the sessions of training.  I will be in Bamako for most of their training and then my APCD (program director), had the bright idea that I should host a Field Based Training group in the capital itself, when I don't speak Bambara nor do I know the city so well.  We'll manage.  My friend Suzie is coming down to help with that and she speaks Fufulde, so we will make a great team!
We picked up the "stagieres" on the 14th.  I was in charge of yelling "Get your bag from the pile and move to the front!  We're taking a group out now!!!"  I even got into a small tif in Bambara and every one was really impressed.  We drove out to Tubani So and I got to do the "nyagen demonstration" where we showed the kids how to use the toilet here.  mmmmm.... that was fun.
We had a lot of fun the first week.  Then the group went on demyst.  It was strange to see the full circle of events.  I can't wait to go through this next year!  They ask so many questions!!!! 
SED training has started finally and we have been putting sessions together.  Will, Joe and Vanessa were there the first week and this week it will be Dave and Nora.  We have done a lot of preping and this week we will take them into the villages to work with a munincipality, an artisan, a bank group and a women's association.  They will be in charge of their entire project and how it goes. 
We took a break this weekend and the entire training group went up to Segou for the big Memorial Day, Luau.  I had t-shirts made for the event and the crew up there made tons of food and we decorated the night before.  It was a lot of fun.  I have really missed my region mates this past month being in Bamako.  I don't see any of them very often.  We went to the pool all day sunday and then came back to the feast and festivities that night.  Jungle Juice was prepared and I drank enough of it to give me a good night sleep.  I think 60 people showed up. 
So now I am back in Bamako.  Tomorrow I will be going back to Tubani So.  I'll be here for 2 more weeks and then I get to go move my stuff from Tominion to Segou.  Hopefully I'll have a house by then.