Day 1 – « Supers » trip

•mars 30, 2010 • Laisser un commentaire

So, this morning we finally left and not a day too soon. Thankfully my throat infection didnt last long and at 4 am this morning Abba and i piled up the motorbike (1 rucksack each, a tent and some spare parts) and drove off into the sunrise, well probably more like 430 as even though i was ‘completely’ ready to go the night before i took half an hour to leave the hostel.  We near missed death about 20 minutes in waiting at a red light, a maniac going too fast would have knocked us over if Abba hadnt overheard the guy in the car next to us say nonchanlantly « check out the guy behind he’s going too fast he is going to burn the red light » as a reflex Abba tilted the motorbike slightly to the right and that second the car screeched past inches to our left. WOAH it was close. moving swiftly on. Time flew by and we had covered about 150 km before we stopped for breakfast in a village called Fana. There were young boys dressed in blue, yellow and black robes singing in the street shaking caracas type instruments who were apparently collecting money and celebrating their circumcision of the day before. Over breakfast i played with some little girls who as we were leaving were repeating something in Bambara i didnt understand. Later Abba told me that they were saying « please dont leave  » – too sweet! I drove the rest of the way and as we approached Segou the landscape slowly turned into true African plains, thick green trees and yellow earthstretching out as far as the eye could see. The only thing missing was animals, no lions, zebras or giraffes just more goats and cows ( literally might cry if i see another fucking cow). That said (bear in mind i was lost in thought for hours on the bike, which with all the baggage doesnt go much faster than 50 kmh and overtired) i thought that i was the giraffe, Abba was the Lion and together we made a zebra.

So finally we arrived in Segou are final destination for today and went to visit the old town, we visited the palace where in the 18th Century if someone had a message for the King, they had to go through seven rooms in each of which was a Marabou ( witch) who would decide whether or not the messenger was good willed, if just one decided he wasnt ( obviously based on nothing very concrete ) that person was sacrificed and beheaded immediately. Then we visited a mosque dating from the 17th century and no amount of research can discover who built it. Apparently until 50 years ago when the mosque was rebuilt with concrete ( previously wood) the mosque wouldnt show up in photographs. Most people here strongly believe in Witchcraft still to this day, (i nearly threw up earlier when i saw a sheep being beheaded,) its organs were hanging out and it was still alive and crying ! RANK. The whole sacrifcing animals for your own well being really pisses me off. Make a sacrifice yourself  it you want happiness and success, it doesnt take anything to sacrifice someone elses life! What selfish, weak fools they are these « fetisheurs ». Then Abba told me his neighbour beat his donkey to death because it wanted to rest after pulling 2 tree trunks 3 km! Not liking the mistreatment of animals that is surroudnig me over here. Not being a weird veggie hippy or anything but its really upsetting.

Then i took a pirogue ( long wooden canoe thing that leaked) for £15 to this pottery island about 5 minute away. Are you taking the piss, 15 quid to go 10 minutes on a broken paddle boat. And i paid half the normal rate because i took it from the village instead of the town. I hear you saying i got majorly ripped off ( which i did ) but you either pay it or you dont, theres no bargaining its jsut the fixed price. complete joke. The poterry island was cool though, people ive so very happily and peacefully, days going by until they day, not aspiring to anything but to live and make pottery. i saw  a little girl younger than Harper moving rocks from a pile onto a cart, its just what everyone does, work work work, slowly, leisurely, but hard. But my oh my it was beautiful, on the banks of the vast River Niger it was a simple paradise. Abba said when he was 6 everyday he and every other kid would have to carry 2 kg heavy bricks to school to help build it. I could barely lift the brick he showed me and 6 year olds carry them kilometres everyday!

Then, after paying the heads of the village ( really really really old guys) a bit of money for letting me visit I bought a turtle made of Pottery for Lucy and Sams flat in memory of our pet tortoise Mo who died tragically in Morocco in 2008.

WONDERFUL first day! Have never been happier or more stimulated or  more pensieve could write forever but I am now tired beyond belief, no sleep and all day on the bike and Abba is waiting and i can tell he is desperado to get back to his friends house where we are sleeping and smoke himself into oblivion . Until tomorrow to whoever is reading this ( almost defintely no one ) .

•mars 19, 2010 • Laisser un commentaire

 

Climb i did yesterday in Sikasso, was so fun. All the trees beneath are mango trees – yum.

These guys live at the bottom of the mountain because its meant to be a spiritual place and they were sacrificing a sheeps head when i went past. People are big into withchcraft and other such things here. Went to a « fetishism » market the other day because someone recommended it. not going to lie i thought it was going to be a load of weird sex stuff,; was pretty weirded out when i saw loads of dead animal heads.

•mars 12, 2010 • Laisser un commentaire

photos have stopped working. I’m going to go and brave my room where i know people are waiting to drag me to some club and make me dance like them. how to avoid? i am not feeling that well…

Riches to Roofs

•mars 12, 2010 • Laisser un commentaire

This is the Libyan tent i sleep in each night, its on the roof of the hostel and has 15 gross little beds in it ( 2 inch think mattresses that are too short for my long body). Luckily its only me and one Ivorian girl in there right now and she is a party animal so is basically never there.

if you don’t have an iron

•mars 12, 2010 • Laisser un commentaire

This is a picture of two guys doing some very traditional ironing. They fold the cloth and then bang on it rythmically until its flat.

Finally i have managed to upload a picture!! I have tried everyday for a week in various internet cafes. LONG.

Today i had my first day helping at a primary school. The teacher told me this morning to come back for afternoon lessons between 3 and 5. I arrived at 3 and he didnt turn up until 3.45. Then when he arrived he wrote their homework on the board and then said to me  » its really hot, shall we just go home? » this was at 16.05!!!

useless blogger

•mars 11, 2010 • Laisser un commentaire

so its been ages since i’ve blogged, its really not that easy to find time and decent connection. What has been happening…. well i had an interview today with these guys who have an interesting company called ID which looks for new technology that could be interesting for Africa. For example, they are currently investing in something that converts water from the air into drinking water. I am not sure whether to work for them or not though, it doesnt sound that concrete and whilst they are respectable businessman, there was a lot of smirking and looks exchanged between the two guys and i didnt really trust them.

The British Embassy put me in touch with a woman called Violet Diallo who is British but is married to a Malian man and is very interesting and involved in lots of projects across Mali. She set up a school, has an NGO for the protection of Animals, works closely with the UN etc.. i have been translating Acronyms for her – so boring but frenchy work.  Last night she took me to dinner at her friends house and this guy who works for the BBC was there and i have literally never met a bigger idiot. He was so boring and arogant and rude. He kept saying really ignorant things but in a mocking tone! I mean..!!! anyway he took my number saying he would call me if he was doing anything interesting over the next couple of weeks (i seriously doubt it) and whatever it is , no thanks. Also he happens to know the guy who screwed me work wise so that is another reason to dislike him. did i mention he was Australian……

Lion Queen

•mars 7, 2010 • Laisser un commentaire

I’ve gone fully local.

It also looks quite like i morphed into a dwarf since i arrived.