First Rain. Double the price.


Sitting on a roof enjoying the early morning breeze. It’s 80 now at 530 am, on it’s way to 100+. A boy kicks a soccer ball down the red laterite road. Herders pass through with their cattle, on their way to some scattered scrub awaiti g the first rai ns of the year. Geckos flit about and the camp dog patrols the roof wall. Very nice dog. Didn’t kn ow he could bark till this mor ing when a dog trotted byon the street below.

Mali is n the firm grip of World Cup, and I must say it is contagious. I chided my host of Cameroon’s loss to Japan. I didn’t even know Japan played soccer. He blames it on poor coaching on African teams.

Listening to the short wave like old days in the Peace |Corps. Wonder how long shortwav will last with internet now invading Africa.

Unfortunately, my wife and niece will not see Timboktu this trip. All Malians we have asked said it is not safe to go there, as bandits are kidnapping and car jacking regularly. The area is apparently becoming a no-mans land and perhaps the Malian people are somewhat stymied as to what to do. It is the edge of the Sahara, and a place few know like the bandits working there.

Work delayed again, as a Fisheries Ministry offiicial was injured in a car accident from the funeral the earlier day. The wife of the official was sent by ministry vehicle to Djenne to see her husband, and we were invited to accompany her. Djenne is located on an island between 2 rivers, and is an ancient trading center dating to B.C. times. Mud and kind-of adobe type construction with narrow walls and open waste water canals in some streets. These smelled pretty ripe in the 100+ degree heat.

Our guide took as past the famous mosque there, and told of Djenne’s origins, architecture, and down through the ages. Made me realize what a young culture the US is. The searing heat and badgering of a market lady trying to sell us jewelry over the entire tour were the only detraction, but to be expected. The heat really take s is out of you, and it the reason Sevare is alive into the early morning hours with young people socializing during the coolest part of the day. Uncle of Amadou, our guide. Amadou’s Phone 753 323 55. Send uncle photos.

Very good day yesterday. Met with several Pedapeche officials who understand that catch reported is more than actual catch and that updated estimates are needed. When we get the workshop on, hopefully we will get somewhere. Also met the major fish buyer in Mopti who may have a gold mine of data: catch per fisherrman per landing by species. If these are daily landings, then we have a catch rate and it will be a matter of estimating effort to get to a total catch est imate. If only a catch rate, then at least an idex of abundance. I wonder how many months or years of records he may have.

While Bara bargained for gara lapas for Aimee, I bought a notebook and some soft drinks for his home to replenish what he’s been serving us. Sara and Aimee picked up the Africa clothes I ordered and managed to pay only double the quoted price in my absence. If I was still in the Peace Corps, I’d go fight for justice, but as I’m just a visitor, it’s my contribution to the local economy

Finally, the first rain of our Sevare stay. This morning it is very tolerably cool and some moisture in the air. The thermometer showed 95 as the rain began, and this morning it might even be below 80 degrees.

A Frenchman who has lived in Burkina Faso for 20 years and is a restaurant/bar owner, Jilles, is also staying at Macs Refuge. He’s here on holiday with his son, niece and nephew. We had a nice conversation last night over the last of his Iriish Whisky on world politics and his experieces living in Ouagadougo over the last 2 decades, first coming to Africa as an adventure crossing the Sahara by vehicle, and eventually marrying and settling in Burkina Faso.

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