Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Best Things about Mali so far:

Ice cream when it is over 100 degrees outside

My brothers' obsession with Celine Dion (nothing is funnier than watching a group of 7-11 year old boys belt out "My Heart Will Go On," or hearing them try to explain why her lyrics speak to them).

The fact that in response to the traditionnal Bambara greeting I ni Wula (you and the day) women respond Nse (my power) while men answer Nba (my mom).

The fact that I am asked by at least ten guys everyday if they can come "cosie" with me (which means to chat).

My new obsession with the soap opera De Coeur Au Peche (a Brazillian show dubbed over in French which I watch with the maid, who only speaks Bambara).

The speed at which Malians are able to greet each other (despite the fact that it is necessary to ask after the health of everyone in each others' family, down to the second cousin of their third wive's daughter's former neighbor).

How everyone here, upon discovering that I'm American rather than French (as soon as I open my mouth), likes to inform me that they "speak English small-small."

How somehow everyone within a three mile radius of my house knows my name, and likes to scream it, at the top of their lungs about 100 times whenever I walk by, but then gets flustered when I look at them.

How, on the rare occassion that I see another white person, my immediate reaction is "what is that Toubabou (Bambara for French/white person) doing here?"

Realizing that my Bambara teacher's motto "no worry, no hurry" applies to pretty much every aspect of my life.

Discussing Barack Obama and "Madame Clinton" with my host dad.

How all the neighborhood kids know when I go to my stop to wait for my ride to school, and enjoy nothing better than to shout "bonne soir" ("good night," despite the fact that it's 7am) at me for up to 30 minutes.

The concept of "circulinear time" (aka how if I am supposed to meet a Malian at 8, they'll show up at 10, with 4 of their friends, and we won't get to our destination until 1, because they'll know 4 people along the way, and they really need to buy some soap.


Erin said...

Risa--your stories are amazing and hilarious! It sounds like you are having an interesting time . . .
Rachel, Tracy, and I miss you!

Lynn said...

I am going to book mark your blog. I have only read this particular post so far, but I look forward to some cultural enlightenment.

anna said...

Hey girl. I miss you so much. Your blog is awesome, so glad I finally got around to reading it. It sounds like you are having an amazing time. It makes me so jealous actually lol and makes me want to go abroad again. I will definitely keep reading your blog more.