Marija's first night in Bamako
Even after over 24 hours of travel, Marija looked fresh as a daisy coming out of the airport in Bamako (not exagerrating, she looked lovely!) and was a real sport going out to dinner right after even though I know she was exhausted. The next morning we got on a bus to San (see previous post) and spent the afternoon getting to know San and hitting all my "regular" spots.
Our "uniformu!" we wore to the wedding celebrations in village and in Bamako
Monday morning we made my usual market-day circuit in San visiting the tailor, shopping for groceries and visiting the fabric section of market. We got our portrait taken at a studio (only $1 a picture!) in our new outfits tailor made for us by Vincent Diarra. I went to the tailor the week before she came and got my measurements taken and guessed on Marija's. Of course, when we tried on our dresses on Monday, hers fit perfectly and mine had to be altered. Ah, the joys of tailor made clothes!
Baby Christine makes a good joke
One of Marija's goals was to spend as much time as possible holding this sweet baby (she let me hold her for this picture :) I think she successfully achieved her goal as we spent a fair amount of time just hanging out with my host family, Annie and the kids. Marija biked over 10 miles out to my site and really held her own especially for being a self-proclaimed non-exerciser. Way to go girl!
The world through rose colored...frames!
Emma(nuel) is a character who, though quiet, likes to be the center of attention. Whenever Marija would try to take a picture of something or someone in the compound Emma would sneak into the back of the picture wearing his shades.
Sunset piroque on the Bani/Niger rivers
We made it up to the Mopti/Sevare area (as well as Bandiagara, the delta of Dogon country) and took a sunset cruise on the Bani river which feeds into the Niger. Sunsets here really are breathtaking and I'm glad that even though the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed we were able to take this boat ride with Cassie.
Marija's visit was a great time to reflect on my service thus far (wow, already almost a year in??) and the year and a half I have left. It felt very strange seeing Marija get swallowed up by the airport doors and me staying on the other side of the roped-off ticket line. We had an incredible time visiting my site and travelling around Mali together. Seeing her enjoy the same aspects of the culture that make everyday here fun for me (bean jokes, marriage proposals, friendly people) made me feel even more attached to the Malian people and culture and even though it was hard to say goodbye I know the next year and some change will go by even faster than this first one and soon enough, I'll be saying hello again.