Archive for August, 2009

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 29-08-2009


Our house has small windows, high ceilings and is surrounded by trees and bushes; great for keeping it cool during warm season. However, it’s the cooler, rainy season at the moment and the house still stays warm and stuffy even when it’s pleasantly cool outside. Opening all the window screens would risk letting hoards of mosquitos in, so we’ve come up with another solution which works a treat:


Yes, fans outside the house, which blow the cool air inside! I wish it had been my idea, but a colleague of ours, Richard, suggested it recently and it works a treat. Within a couple of hours, our lounge was about 5 degrees cooler. Excellent!

Of course, we only put the fans under the veranda, otherwise the rain might just have a shocking effect on them!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 26-08-2009

are BIG!

This one is 8mm long – not bad, and bigger than many we used to have in Benin:


Of course, this is not the first ‘mozzie blog post’ by any means. In Benin, I blogged about the wee beasties here and here and – of course – you can always search ‘malaria’ in the box at the top to find multiple postings on the subject too!

The good thing about these ‘monster mozzies’ is that (a) they’re easier to see (b) they’re just that bit slower and (c) they’re therefore easier to squash (or electricute with one of these rackets).

First prize, however, has to go to this mozzie, which tops in at a stunning 11mm (including legs):

(photo taken 5 seconds prior to its imminenent death by hand-squash)

There you go! Thanks to fine metal screening on all our doorways and windows, only a few mozzies have made it into the house so far (including the two above), but at least this gives me some extra exercise trying to catch them! Thanks for reading.


Filed Under (General) by Rob on 21-08-2009

Thank you those who guessed what they were doing.

(Spot the odd one out…)

They are actually beating wax into the cloth; this makes is look nice and shiney and improves the durability of the cloth. So, there you go! Nice percussion too, though, but that’s merely a bi-product!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 09-08-2009

This is Delcie, our new kitten:

(NB She’s the one on the right!)

We’ve never really been cat people, but when one was offered to us before we arrived in Mali, it seemed like a good idea, especially for the kids. One cat’s not too much trouble, right? But then, about a week after our arrival here, we heard a distressed call from our front garden but didn’t know whether is was a bird, a cat, or what! Upon further investigation, we found this TINY kitten, bedraggled and hungry, under a bush in the garden:


Poor thing was in a bad way and was so hungry she (he?) ate almost a whole tin of sardines in one go! She also had a gungy eye and was pretty filthy. Still, after a good wash and clean up, it looks like a new cat (and, well, it is!)


So, we’ve adopted her for the time being, but if you know of anyone (in Mali) who would like to give a home to this loveable feline, do let us know. Meanwhile, we’ve christened her ‘Nyah’ (explanation on request) and she’s getting stronger every day (especially her ‘voice’!!) For the moment, Delcie and Nyah are not mixing much, and Delcie seems decidedly unsure of her.

Of course, this all links in with ethnomusicology; Italian composer Rossini composed some cat ‘heart music’ called Dueto Buffo per due Gatti (Cats’ Duet). Here’s the funniest version I’ve seen, sung by the legendary Felicity Lott and Ann Murray. There’s also an interesting – and mildly disturbing – animated version here with REAL cats singing!


Thanks for reading!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 04-08-2009

…which was a very interesting experience indeed. Have a look:


And if it’s flip-flops you want, here’s the place (though they were cheaper in Benin…)


And, of course, West African cuisine wouldn’t be complete without the ubiquitous Maggi Cube. You may remember that Cotonou had a whole water tower devoted to the Maggi Cube (until a mobile phone network repainted it), which I blogged about here. Looks like Bamako has to make do with a Maggi van for the time being at least…


However, the most intriguing bit of the market was these guys with their giant mallets. Any guesses what they’re doing and why? Leave me your suggestions and I’ll let you know the answer in a week or so:

Other news:

* We’re all moved in and settling into our new home.
* The back yard has a serious mosquito problem, though hardly any have made it into the house. A bloke is coming to spray the whole area tomorrow.
* It’s our wedding anniversary tomorrow, so I’m taking Lois to a nice place by the river for a romantic meal.
* Also tomorrow, the Baker family gains a new addition. Watch this space…