Djenne Mosque Mali

Segou to Djenne, Monday 5th February 2007

An early breakfast was in the courtyard of the hotel. The rest of the group really seem to be dependent on the rest of the group. Bags were piled on top of the bus and we were ready to go later than planned – inevitable when steering a group of thirteen. After walking across a bridge kids gathered and held my fingers. The kids ask for empty bottles of water at a village where we stopped with primitive granary hut structures and a beer making centre. The chief of the village was paid a token amount for the imposition of this group of tourists. Using cliché terms such as bustling and colourful seem the only correct terms for a market on the way, near an adobe mud constructed mosque, a smaller version of the one at Djenne where I am now. The light does not work in the bathroom but the hotel itself is the most upmarket in town. The walk around the mosque, market and side street was one of the most culturally different I have ever experienced – goats, turbans, mud bricks, weird unidentifiable medical cures, dust – and a view of the adobe mud architecture in the dying sun. One member of the group had multiple mobile calls indicating some kind of developing crisis back home. The journey involved a little snoozing and a stop at a granary with many huts. I felt no great need to communicate continuously with the other members of the group and maybe I should develop some stock responses when they comment on my quietness, to make them feel more comfortable: “I’m learning to relax”, “Don’t worry I’m very happy” etc. “I try not to be too intense”, “I’m content and have got no worries”. There was drum accompaniment with the bony chicken dinner in the evening.

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