Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wednesday 15th February 2012

Teaching English to pupils at UMAV

Playing cissifoot (blind football) at UMAV

The Malian national cissifoot team
In our room at Siby

At the waterfalls at Siby

At Siby

At Siby

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tuesday 31st January 2012

Hi, hi, hi !!

The African wedding was so great! We were the only foreigners and were a bit of a spectacle. It was at the bride's mother's house, and the outfits everyone wore were incredibly bright!

Our projects are going well. I have been to UMAV this week to observe English classes and i'm currently planning the classes we will teach. There are between 55 to 70 teenagers per class and they range from 14 to 20 years old...daunting!

We are starting to explore our neighborhood now, and its quite poor with open sewers running down the streets and red dusty unpaved roads. But it's very lively and everyone says hello in the street and on we came across a fun street dance party in a nearby street.

I'm enjoying daily running with Fliss and JJ our team leader. I can't wait for our second dance class this evening.

Hope everyone at home is well!

Rachel xxxxx

waiting for our pizzas in a restaurant

In the medina market to buy fruit and veg

Street dance party in our neighbourhood

Our dresses for the African wedding

Bridie, Fliss and me at the wedding

Friday, 27 January 2012

Friday 27th January 2012


this evening we went along to an african dance class, which was one of the best experiences of my life! It was very energetic and full of soul.

Our projects are going very well and i feel like all our group is working hard and pulling their weight. Personally, I have been busy working on webpages for UMAV, one of our partners and also planning english classes to teach the children and teenagers in the schools at UMAV and Amaldeme. I am very excited to see the sensory playground and garden we have planned to build.

Tomorrow night we are going for pizza and football - i can't think of anything better haha.

miss everyone from home!

check out some photos below...especially the cutest puppy in the world...SheWolf :D

Rachel xxxxxx

left to right: me, Megs, Hibz, Fliss, Bridie, Jem and a local dancer

SheWolf the puppy we adopted

Me with SheWolf

Local fruit market

Our security man, Deco, making traditional Mali tea for us

An artisan making wodden carvings

Growing lettuce

A typical Bamako bus (sutrama)

Downtown Bamako

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tuesday 24th January 2012

Hello !!!

Today we have finalized plans for the project work we will do with UMAV the school and centre for the blind. We will make a sensory playground and garden amongst other plans. As a group we are all very excited to get stuck in!

We visited Amaldeme, the school for disabled children yesterday and the kids are so cute!!! Cannot wait to plan our projects there too.

This evening Mali will pay its first game in the African cup of nations. Which should be fun to watch in a local bar.

We have been tailored for African dresses to wear tot he wedding we are going to next weekend. and we will also get out of Bamako to some waterfalls, so i will let you all know what that is like.

Congrats to Alito and Rach on their engagement :D woop woop!

Much love

Rachel x x x x x x x x

The shop where i bought the material for my dress for the wedding

panorama of the street where we are living

View from our terrace where we are living

Friday, 20 January 2012

Friday 20th January 2012

Hi all!

so Mali is amazing! Everyone is so friendly and it's so nice to wake up to sunshine every day. 

The sense of humour here is very unusual! You can only joke with people that have certain surnames (and there is only about 40 surnames here!!!! so a lot of people have the same name!)  and it is hugely funny to call someone your slave or call them a monkey. Its also funny to joke that someone loves to eat green beans.

Our accommodation is very spacious and has a huge breezy terrace area. 

Yesterday we went to meet two of the three organisations we will be working with FEMAPH (Malian association for disabled people)  and UMAV (school and centre for the blind and visually impared). Which is where Amadou and Miriam attended!

Our group (consisting of JJ, Fran, Bridie, Megan, Felicity, Hibak, Jemma and Myself) already have many ideas for possible projects to help. 

I'm finding it hard to communicate with people as everyone speaks French and Bambara but we had some Bambara lessons, with a very enthusiastic teacher, which was great fun!

Good morning = I ni sogoma
How are you = I Ka Kane

We have also had a culture lesson. I was surprised to find out that polygamy is practised here. Greeting people is of high importance and can take a while as you must ask how all the family members are not just the person you are talking to! Also we learn the importance of Kola nuts which are used as a cure to everything and are offered as gifts.

We have had some traditional west African food (Ivorian and Senegalese) which consists of rice, spicy sauce and meat. It was very delicious. I have also found my new favourite drink ... Ya Banane! Which is a fizzy banana drink... nom nom nom.

I miss playing football at home but i cannot wait for Mali to play in the African cup of nations on Tuesday. woooo!

Muuch love to everyone at home! :D

Rachel xxxxxxxxxxx
outside a house

a typical street

the local shop keeper

view of la place CAN 

Hibak, Bridie and me in front of FEMAPH 

local market scene 
local market scene

Malian Music group

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Saturday 14th January 2012

It's Saturday afternoon and I've got butterflies in my stomach. I'm about to go to Heathrow to catch a plane to Mali. Where I will be working for International Service, a government initiative for 3 months. In my group we will be working with a local Malian organisation that works with disabled people. I'm unsure how exactly we will be helping out but I can't wait to find out!!

I don't feel very prepared but at least i have Amadou and Miriam on my ipod :D 

I'm most looking forward to experiencing a different culture and waking up to sunshine everyday! woohoo!

I'm going to miss all my family and friends so much!

Rachel xxxx

My lovely farewell cake my mum baked :D

My mum, brother's girlfriend Rach (good name), brother Alito and Me :D