Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A house of friends

This past weekend I traveled with 5 San volunteers to Teriyabugu, an eco-tourism site nestled in a small village on the Bani river, where we celebrated our impending close-of-service and also the one-year mark for the 2009 group.  After setting down our bags and baskets of breakfast and lunch provisions in our 5,000 CFA/night/person ($10) dormitory we proceeded to explore.  My mom and I came in January for the first time together and coming back made me fall in love with Teriyabugu a little bit more.  After traveling all over Mali I haven't found another place where you can enjoy the beauty of the river in peace and with creature comforts like fans and potable water. There are over 200,000 eucalyptus trees planted on the grounds, roaming peacocks, friendly wild animal statues, a jatropha seed oil press to make bio-diesel fuel and an incredible tree nursery.  With accommodations ranging from camping (3,000 CFA/night/person, $6) to air-conditioned bungalows (29,000 CFA, $60) and the option to bring your own food (the restaurant is a bit pricey) what's not to love?  

 San-kaw on a swinging bench by the Bani river 

In the mornings we bought fresh baked bread from the boulangerie for 50 CFA a loaf (10 cents USD) and ate it warm with mango jam Cassie made in her village or laughing-cow cheese from the toubab store in San.  After filling our bellies and slathering on sunscreen we splashed and aerobicized in the pool before napping on chaises and eating tuna fish sandwiches and sliced cucumbers and mangoes (all imported from San and stored in our baskets).  Cassie's friends and my Kate (Shellnutt) also sent copious amounts of summer sausage in packages right before the trip so we had most delicious sausage sandwiches for dinner (thank you!). 
The bakery at the bugu

On our last night we decided to go all out and spring for a fancy dinner at the hotel restaurant.  Alaric chose the rabbit in a mustard sauce, beef brochettes for Holly and Esther, grilled chicken for Cassie and the fish kebabs for Caitlin and I.  After dinner we gathered our kebab sticks and made a fire by the river to toast s'mores (thank you, Mom for sending the supplies).  It was nice to sit and talk with some of my closest friends in Mali with close to zero distractions.  The stars were incredible and orange dots lined the banks of the river from the Bozo fishermen's fires.  
Sunset on the Bani river - view from Teriyabugu

Morning and night men would pass by on pirogues laying their fishing nets and then collecting them for the day's catch.  Sitting on the swinging bench by the river, Esther reading 'A series of Unfortunate Events' or Cassie writing in her journal, I felt satisfied. Teriyabugu means 'the house of friendship' in Bambara and while surrounded by some of my closest friends in Mali I couldn't help but think - It doesn't get much better. 
they're beautiful and so smart!

see more pictures from our trip here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ah, me. lucky you to go back there! love you! mom

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