So you're probably all wondering what has been going on for the past 5 months and why I haven't been updating my blog. Really all is going well and I'm just proving to be a really bad blog writer. Last time I posted was after my Benin trip and now I'm just getting back from a wonderful trip through Mali. But don't think all I do here is go on vacation. There was a lot Niger time in between. Well first for the exciting part, Mali! We went through Burkina to the southern part of Mali to a region called Dogon Country. Traveling there was a little rough to say the least. We encountered some bad bush taxi luck, first getting stuck in the closest border town with no cars leaving to cross the border all day. Then the next morning our car finally left but only made it 12km before we got a flat tire, and with no spare the driver started rolling it back down the road we came from. After lounging under a tree for a while, I started hitch hiking and luckily got some French volunteers to pick us up. But when we finally got to Dogon, we quickly realized that it was worth it. It is absolutely breathtaking. There is a 200km escarpement with villages along the base and on the top. The remains of ancient villages still remain in the side of the escarpement. We spent 5 days hiking in between the villages, from the base climbing up rocks and cracks to the top and then down cannons and through tunnels to the bottom. We had a crazy but excellent guide who talked about the history of the old anamist villages and the transformation that has turned them into the villages today. We also had fun nights drinking millet beer and hanging out on the rocks. The trip back to Niger was just as rough, bush taxi took 6.5 hours to go 60 miles, spent the night at the bus station (not as bad as you would think but it rained) then as we're crossing the border back to Niger my cell phone and my friends camara and $100 got stolen from the bus. Bummer. But it was still a great trip!
As for the past 5 months... Things have continued to go well in village. I started my first big project with Moringa trees. Moringa is a miracle tree that has incredibly nutritious leaves, great for fighting malnutrition. We started a small garden using improved variety seeds from a research institution and will be producing more seeds to provide to the area. In the upcoming months we will also be starting projects with fruit tree grafting as an income generating activity for the women's group. Cold season is starting soon!!! It will be so nice to get some relief from this heat. It also means that its gardening so fresh vegetables will be available. Man its going to be a good next couple months!
New pics are up on my shutterfly page. Let me know how you all are doing. Love you!