Archive for April, 2011

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 27-04-2011

A nice sunset over the Senegal River in Kayes

Filed Under (Malian culture) by Rob on 22-04-2011

Yes, hot season is here with a vengeance and boy do we know it!

Yes, even pigs can do nothing but wallow in whatever water they can find and humans rush from one air-conditioned environment to another, aware that the outside temperature could be four or more degrees above body temperature!!

Here’s the forecast for the next few days in Bamako; as you rejoice that it’s just warm enough to go out in short sleeves where you live, spare a thought for the Bakers ‘baking’ in Mali!

(Image taken from:

Yes, 25 Celsius is the minimum we can expect, and 41 the maximum. And, as you can see, zero chance of any rain to cool us down!

Last night, the kids slept in our room with the a/c on low, as their room was still 33 Celsius as bedtime. We put the swamp-cooler on and attempted to cool another room down enough for us to sleep well ourselves! At least we all have water beds and a layer of straw matting a couple of feet above our house roof. This keeps it cooler inside (honestly, some folk complain of temps up to 35 or more inside their houses!!)

For more info, tips on surviving the heat along with Tim’s Ten Reasons for liking Hot Season, click here. (Yes, it’s the Bamako Map guy again).

Well, at least she’s getting up now, eh? Thanks for reading!
(Posted from my air-conditioned office and I’m still sweating!)

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 20-04-2011

A humungous termite mound, seen in Togo in 2005.

Now, I’m 5’7″ (and a half) tall, so this beast must be getting of for 20 feet tall. Amazing! I’ve never seen a larger one since, I have to say (and dread to think how many termites were living in this five-star insect sky-scraper; I didn’t investigate too far!) Mind you, for some folk termites are something of a delecacy, so this could be a great source of nutrition too! Click here for some tips on cooking edible winged termites, not to mention ‘flying ant stew’ (I didn’t make this up, really!)

If you like insects, don’t forget to have a butcher’s at my Creepie Crawlies Album, full of interesting African insects!

Filed Under (Malian culture) by Rob on 15-04-2011

Shipping stuff is fun! We shipped a car from England to Senegal with MSC once and it arrived in great condition and also full of our belongings!

The car came in one of those large metal containers. You know, this kind of thing:

(Image from this website)

However, it’s interesting to note that these huge metal shipping containers do not all find their way back to whence they came. Many, sadly, end up cluttering the streets of cities like Bamako, some still used for storage, others looking completely abandoned, like these ones (all a stone’s throw from my house):

It’s not all bad news, though. Africans are very resourceful and many of them have been converted into stores, workshops even restaurants! Here are a few of the ‘container success stories’ of Bamako:

Now, I had imagined that this phenomenon of ‘container recycling’ was peculiar to West Africa. However, on a recent trip eastwards I found the same thing there. Here are a car parts shop near the main stadium in Nairobi (top) and the ‘Boyz Boyz Mobile Disco’ in Kampala (bottom):

Thanks for reading!

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 13-04-2011

A health warning seen in Sangha, Dogon Country:

Even without an understanding of French, the meaning of this one is pretty clear, I think: Use a bathroom, not a river for your ‘business’! You may laugh (and it made me laugh too), but in a country where being literate is far from universal, images like this are very useful for conveying important health messages like this one. It could even save lives! There you go.

Filed Under (Things to do in Bamako) by Rob on 08-04-2011

Visit the Jardin du Cinquantenaire, near the cliffs:

It was opened by the President of Mali last September and contains lawns, a pond, bridges, a viewing platform, an artificial cave and a waterfall (some of the year).

According to this article, it cost over 345,000cfa to create the park, which is about £450,000. Still, it’s a nice place to visit, although far from huge – you can’t “get lost” in this park like you can in the Parc National!

Click here for some photos of the garden and its inauguration. There you go. Not a bad place to take a picnic or a book and while away a couple of hours in a relatively tranquil setting. And unlike the Parc National, entry is free!

Filed Under (General, Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 06-04-2011

A painting of a man in a suit playing the djembe

Seen on a wall above a door in Ségou. A decidedly random image indeed, and not one I’ve ever seen in reality! Also, he seems to have lost part of his nose, oh, and you can play a djembe well with your leg sticking out like that, you really can’t!