We arrived back in Mali from our jakarta trip at the end of February. I haven’t posted much – or at all – since then, and I don’t have time to write something significant so this post will be mostly visual.
Andre turned 8-months-old yesterday. He is standing up for a few seconds at a time now, and every day you can see the synapses multiply. For me and Bintou, watching him grow into a happy child has been pure joy. But we’ve now entered into a new phase called EVERYTHINGISFAIRGAME. For example, Andre is currently enamored with a neon green dustpan, so enamored that he wants to eat it. As I understand it, this phase lasts for several years? I anticipate many brushes with cardiac arrest once he starts walking, no less running, but at the same time, I can’t wait for this new adventure.
Family aside, 2017 has had its highs and lows. We lost a friend in a car accident. I will write more about it at a later time. Mali continues to unravel, with insecurity and poor governance leading the way. A hotel and restaurant, Le Campement, was attacked on the 18th. It was Father’s Day, and Bintou and I were actually considering going there on that particular day. We decided we’d rather avoid the crowds. Six people were killed and many others injured. The bars and pool areas were burnt to the ground. Meanwhile, our good friend Sophie is shutting the doors on her hotel in Djenne, which she started in 2006. It was difficult to read her final post about her time there. We have expanded the bar area at our own restaurant, but we are now once again turning to security, looking into armed guards and other measures to add to what is already a quite secure space overall.
The first half of the year has had its moments, though. After our jakarta tour, we’ve had plenty of trips on the river and even a hop over the border to Burkina Faso. While some good friends have left Bamako, others have arrived and there always seems to be someone passing through. My mom finally made it to Mali, and she had an excellent visit. We took a trip up to Segou and went around to our favorite spots in Bamako. While she would have enjoyed a trip to the arctic circle in winter as long as Andre was present, I was glad she got to see where I have been living for the better part of a decade.
I continue to work on my Postcards from Timbuktu project with Ali, and Matt and I are getting ready to finalize our scooter trips (side note: if you are interested in joining a trip, go to ScootWestAfrica.com and sign up to the email list at the bottom of the homepage. We will soon be making an announcement about dates and different trips). Hopefully, I will have a chance to post a bit more often on this blog as well.
Here are some photos from March-June. DISCLAIMER: most of them are photos of Andre.
Andre found chocolate and this is what happened.
You been smoking something, Dre??????
Andre the nomad
At Campement a couple of months before it was attacked.
I don’t know if this photo is the before …
… or the after
Andre’s first waterfall. In Banfora, Burkina Faso.
Andre’s first dip in a waterfall. He was not so impressed.
Bob testing out his allegedly waterproof phone. This was an excellent day.
Bintou and a very phallic rock formation at the Sindou Peaks near Banfora.
Bintou made her top and Andre’s. She is getting quite clever with her creations these days.
With friends on the roof of our boat
Inaugurating the new bar
A couple weeks later…
Hyacinthe, known to many as Eddie Murphy, is now working with us. This was an enormous coup as far as I’m concerned. Instant client favorite.
Here’s to an excellent rest-of-2017.