LOTTA travels

On the banks of le fleuve Niger

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You might have guessed already that I don’t get out much these days. In the mornings it’s the shuttle to work, in the evenings back. So all I get to see is either our street corner while waiting for the minibus or from the window.

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“Fish Wives” setting up in the morning and our hotel in the background

I’m looking at apartments so hopefully that will change, but we’re told to be careful, even though Bamako is far safer than the North-East of Mali. On Thursday I attended the mandatory security briefing. We were told about the past incidents, the dangers and what might be still ahead. The dangers include Malaria, scorpions, snakes, spiders, traffic accidents (see the entry about motor bikes from yesterday) and sand storms but also violence. Most of these dangers don’t apply to the area of Bamako though.

One of the problems that might be ahead of us is water scarcity. Bamako is situated in the very South of Mali on the banks of the wide Niger, the principal river of West Africa and is therefore relatively well equipped with water. Le fleuve Niger runs at a leisurely pace in a wide crescent from Sierra Leone to Bamako all the way up to Timbuktu in Mali and back down through Niger and Nigeria to the Niger Delta into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately the water levels of this third longest river of Africa are at the lowest since 1984 and therefore we have to be aware of potential clashes for resources in our future.

On our way to the camp, which is close to the airport south of the city, we drive over a long bridge across this tranquil giant that looks more like a lake than a river. The fish that are being sold at our “bus stop” are being caught in the small wooden boats with shallow keel you can spy in some of the pictures. So far every morning or evening looked different – from clear and brilliant to hazy and mysterious.

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Early morning sun on the Niger

Here is a quick video I shot while crossing the bridge on the bumpy road in a minibus – just to give you an idea 😉

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