Thursday, September 9, 2010

new beginnings...

ala ka here k'i nye


So I am officially and unmistakably moved out of my village. Tuesday was the big move. Here's what's new...

I extended with Peace Corps for another year. That means I'm here until October 2011. Yikes!

I moved into an apartment in Bamako. It has running (cold) water, power, fans, a bathroom, a kitchen counter and sink, balcony, and tile floors. I'm on the third floor of a pretty new building. Below me are a convenient store, two tailor shops, and a Senegalese restaurant. I'm already making friends, mostly at the restaurant (I know where my bread's buttered).

I have two work assignments...

First is with Oxfam, working in their Savings for Change program. They set up groups of 20-25 women who save money and lend it to each other (with interest). This encourages savings, facilitates entrepreneurship, and helps guard them from the worst shocks of life in Mali (sickness, crop failure, etc). Oxfam has scores of agents around the country supporting hundreds of these groups. Among other things, my mission is to facilitate partnerships between these agents and Peace Corps volunteers on the ground, who have a lot to offer each other.

click here for a video clip promoting the Savings for Change program

Second is at the Peace Corps bureau, where I'll be supporting other volunteers and staff in various projects. It's pretty broad for the moment, but once I get into it I think there are some exciting opportunities.

And that's what's new.

another apology...

a kera fama ye...


So here I am again, apologizing to my readers (who I'm finding out are more numerous than I once thought) for not writing in decidedly too long.

The last few months were so jam-packed with goodbyes that I've had trouble keeping up with other parts of my life. I am now in a place with regular internet, and will try to clear the backlog of updates and blog themes in the coming days and weeks.

So, sorry it's been so long, and thanks to the people who have convinced me to stick with the writing. This time it'll be better.