Village life so far has actually been going fairly smoothly and surprisingly quite quickly. Its had its bumps, mounds, knolls, hills, a few buttes, and a couple full on mountains here and there (spider blog post describing one of them), but taken as a whole those seemingly towering mountains have become, from the outer space-like view of an experience that has now passed, more topographically flat and altogether rather tolerable. A few obstacles in the road can be overcome with enough perspective, patience, and really, ability to laugh at oneself even if that means acknowledging how ridiculous it must have looked to an outsider watching me handle a rather unusually big spider. And with those obstacles its not to say there hasn’t been a car (or maybe donkey cart?) so to speak waiting for me here and there to help drive me up the mound, hill, mountain, etc. The Malians living in Farabougou have been incredibly welcoming, warm, generous, and receptive to any needs i have, and even ones I never thought I needed. I hope through my two years of Peace Corps service I can help reciprocate the many generosities they have bestowed upon me, giving back to the villagers and showing them my gratitude for all they have done already–it’s still only my first month there!

I’ve been able to accomplish a little so far, planting Moringa (basiyirini in Bambara) the leaves of which contain  an incredible amount of vitamins A and C, calcium, and potassium (pretty much a natural multi-vitamins I might have described in more detail in a previous blog post) that I plan on giving to the women of the village so that they can plant them in their garden to harvest the leaves hopefully on a fairly regular basis. So far I’ve got about 50 shoots of Moringa. Hope it all works out! I’ve also been able to plant a garden, in which some heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and green beans have sprouted. Soon I hope spinach, carrots, and beets can be added to the list. Between working in the garden and trying to get through my goal of 20 books by the end of the two months–at book number 15!– i’m at site before IST (In Service Training) I’m kept pretty busy. Added to that is the learning of an all new language which i’m finding after 4 months I can pretty much navaigate my way through a conversation. Understanding what they say is much more difficult then when I speak, which is I suppose understandable since I know what I’m saying, ha ha. But “dooni dooni” (little by little) and with each conversation I find I’m able to pick out a couple more words here and there when people talk. Tho without a context it comes innumerably more difficult due to the fact that in Bambara many words have several meanings. The word “ba” for example meaning “river”, “mother”, “goat”, “big”, and a few others not coming to mind. Also with conjugations such as N b’a don (“I know it”….and I think depending on the tone that coule also mean “I wear it” and as you’ll notice with the conjugation from n be a don in which you take out the first vowel generally when you have two together, it becomes “N b’a don” and that “ba” sound appears yet again.  But as I said before, dooni dooni. Otherwise life is pretty repetitive and uneventful, the bumps in the road bringing some, at times undesired, flaire and the fostering friendships and interactions with villagers creating a comfortable environment in which I am slowly becoming more at ease and more confident in my PCV goals and tasks I have been administratively given and personally chosen to undertake in the two years I’ll be living in my village in the far far Farabougou. Hope it continues to become smoother and smoother, but then again, what’s life without a few bumps in the road here and there. AND it is Mali after all, and no road in Mali is ever smooth. My back can sure as hell attest to that.

Hope everything is well with y’all all! Let me know how things are going over in your neck of the woods!!! Talk again soon!

Mario

P.S. Please let me know how things are going over yonder, the shenanigans and exploits, I’m starved for some good gossip, info, stories, etc. ha ha…hence maybe the reading of a book every 2-3 days…

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