it’s a new year.
a new paysage. landscape.
but let’s rewind first.
back to last year.
to vehicles crowded with peace corps volunteers.
to mango trees in your training village.
to yala yalas after bambara classes. walks.
to woson bulu. sweet potato leaves.
(which is used to make saga saga – a dish you’ll all learn about later)
to nakos full of onions and carrots. gardens.
to a perfect log where good conversations would take place.
let’s keep rewinding - to december 25th.
to christmas day in mali.
a relaxing day.
a day to take a break from being in a malian village – a day to go back to being american. as a volunteer it’s crucial to fit in with your malian community. but it’s also important to keep the american side of you as well.
and what better way to be your american self than cardmaking and coloring?
or making cookies?
or better yet, cooking.
there’s a chef in charge.
a chef who planned a menu. in english and bambara – three pages worth. a meal for about sixty people.
thankfully there are plenty of hands to help.
apple pies and sugar cookies.
there’s plenty to do.
and plenty to laugh about as well. is it possible to cook without laughing?
peanut butter cookies.
there’s more. like macaroni and cheese and salad and green beans and glazed carrots and mashed potatoes and biscuits and hot chocolate and tea.
however, the photos aren’t here.
because you decide to sneak away.
silly trainees and volunteers walk toward you. “we’re going to the river!" want to join us?”
you don’t say no.
for a change, instead of following bird tracks, you follow human footprints.
there are bi naani ni kelen new trainees in your group. 41.
41 faces. 41 personalities. 41 stories.
of course you can’t possibly grow close to all forty one of them.
that would be too tiring.
you are a bit curious about who will become the people you’ll come to love most.
will it be your training center roommates? your training village classmates?
your sitemate? the people placed in your region?
the trainers? current volunteers? future volunteers?
friendship. it shouldn’t be forced – it should just happen.
new friends. but you’ve not forgotten your old friends.
there are so many things in mali you want to share with them. you can’t wait until the day they come. you constantly think about all the things you’d like to share with them. sooni. soon.
old friends, new friends – they’re going to meet.