This past week I had the glorious opportunity to attend the 7th annual Festival sur le Niger. It's an international music festival held in Segou - about 3 1/2 hours north of Mali - and on the Niger river. During the day I manned a USAID/PHARE booth with co-workers and talked about the PHARE program with eclectic tourists and curious Malians and at night we danced together on the edge of the river to the kora, electric guitars and djembés from all over West Africa.
Here are some of the artists I saw:
One sweet grandmother came to the PHARE stand and once she heard the interactive radio show playing on one of our radios exclaimed: 'I listen to your show everyday! Is this Moussa??!'* as she pointed to Kanté, a co-worker who runs the studio that produces our interactive radio lessons. Kanté is not the voice of Moussa but he took the opportunity to tell the cute, Malian grandma about more of what our program does and encouraged her to make sure her grandbabies (grades 1-3) are receiving the broadcasts in their schools! The festival was a unique opportunity to share the incredible work PHARE does with foreigners and Malians alike. Vive l'education au Mali!
Here are some photos from the trip - I hope you enjoy!
7th edition of the Festival sur le Niger in Segou, Mali
Sunset in Segou and before the stage lights up with night time shows
The real reason for going - talking about USAID/PHARE!
our pretend classroom to show folks how the program actually works
African and Cuban dancing shows happened throughout the days and all over the festival grounds
With Hélène-a co-worker from PHARE. She taught me how to tie my head-wrap in this most beautiful bow!
More mid-day dancing (this is a Bobo group which is one of the 12 major ethnicities in Mali)
I could have watched the dancing all day!
With Mamadou Kanté, Chief-of-Party for Le Programme de Gouvernance Partagée (Program for Shared Governance) who also happens to be the author of the textbooks I used to learn Bambara!
see more pictures i took at the festival here!
*(interactive radio lessons are broadcast on ORTM, the Malian national radio station, Monday-Friday at 10:30 and 11:10 a.m. during the school year)