a hibiscus tea break at the gardenAround 12:30 a lunch bell rings in my head and I fish 300 CFA out of my wallet, tie my sun hat on my increasingly blond head, slip my lanyard-string museum pass around my neck and look both ways before crossing the street from the PHARE complex to the parking lot of the National Museum of Mali. Fatoumata's table, surrounded by broken-down museum buses in a forgotten corner of the lot, is laden with rice and sauce and occasionally frozen sweet drinks that she sells to museum employees, security guards and toubabs like me on a limited lunch budget. I set my money on the table and collect a plate of tigadegana with hot pepper sauce and a bottle of hibiscus juice and enter the park grounds through the back door.
On October 1st the National Museum of Mali hosted the opening of the National Park of Mali situated on the museum grounds and spanning over 250 acres. The National Park, financed and designed by his Highness Aga Khan and his eponymous foundation, offers two restaurants (in addition to the museum's), a tea house, playgrounds, a fully-equipped fitness center and juice bar, a traditional medicine garden, fountains and numerous benches to support tushes tired from walking around the expansive environs.
Fletcher in the flowers (he's another PCV at PHARE)
On Saturday night the museum hosted the opening of an exposition titled 'North meets West' in their temporary exhibit space. Massaran and I, a neighbor and friend, ventured to the museum on Saturday afternoon with her baby Aboudou on her back and my camera in hand. The exhibit is the culmination of a 10-day workshop held in Bamako for a group Norwegian and West African artists from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo and Mali.
tea house by night-light
see more pictures from the park and Bamako here