as i am.

"…but soil is a refuge for dispersed seeds."

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The Pictures

Posted on by chrissy

Here are some pictures from my first two months in Mali.  Thus far, it is a tedious process to upload pictures, so hopefully I can get this streamlined, and will have the time to upload many more.  But for now, enjoy these.

Final Thoughts Before Heading to Site

Posted on by chrissy

I am currently in San, at my stage house (or place to go for recuperation from village, also known as a transit house) waiting to be installed at my site tomorrow. I have been spoiled with an abundance of toubab time in the past couple weeks, and am getting slightly nervous about settling back in in a new village full of only Malians for the next two months. Continue reading →

The Swear In, In Extravagance

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Our swear in ceremony was lavish, to say the least. Our stage (or the group of volunteers who arrived with me in February) has been exceedingly lucky since the start of our service. In Washington D.C., Aaron Williams, the Director of Peace Corps came and talked to our group along with the Malian Ambassador to the U.S., and an official from U.S.A.I.D. Since arriving in Mali, the American Ambassador to Mali, Madame Gillian A. Milovanovic, came to our training center to provide thoughtful encouragement to our stage, and indulge us with a group picture. The biggest treat, however, was certainly our swearing in ceremony. Continue reading →

The Interim

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After leaving S New, we spent a week and a half at Tubani So. Initially we had some final sessions in health, safety and security, administrative issues, etc. I spent my birthday in class in the morning, then passed my language test in the afternoon. One of the trainers, Holly, cut all my hair off for my birthday. Continue reading →

The Homestay Goodbyes

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The last Thursday I was in S New, I was brushing my teeth, almost ready to go to school in the morning. My mom walked up and told me she had to go to her village. Her uncle had passed away, and she was leaving right away to be with her family. She didn’t know when she was coming back, but it wouldn’t be before Sunday, my last day in S New. Continue reading →

The Training

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One of our tasks during homestay was to give a moringa animation to the women’s group in town. Moringa is known as the miracle tree to some due to its nutritious value: it has more calcium than milk, more vitamin A than carrots, more vitamin C than oranges, and many more amazing nutritious facts. An animation is just the word for an organized discussion with a group of Malians. Continue reading →

The Process of Achieving Comfort

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The compound was sun bleached and empty when I returned to S New for the third and final stint of homestay. The midday heat was intense, and those not working hard in the fields slunk out of the sun to nap. My grandmother slipped out from the shadows to greet me when I arrived. I put my bags down in my room, swept out the dirt accumulated by ants in my absence, and filled a bucket of water to filter. As I poured water into my filter, my mom approached, calling my name. Her smile was wide as we exchanged greetings and she asked about my trip. In any other culture, her excitement to see me would have been expressed in a hug, but hugs are not part of the Malian culture, so instead she rubbed my arm endearingly, her excitement still needing to come out in some way. It felt good to be back. Continue reading →

The Dance

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My mom has yet to return from her shopping expedition to Bamako, and the compound is quiet in her absence. Aby dutifully keeps me company, and as the evening slips into night her eyes grow with excitement at the sound of drumming drifting into our compound: the dance is starting. Continue reading →

Odds and Ends

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After lunch on my first full day in village, I am left with only Aly and his friend Basil to babysit me. The people in my region are very poor farmers, and their Bambara reflects their isolation, as it seems akin to the English of the Louisiana bayou. Words are spewed together, cut in half, mumbled, and sound almost like complete gibberish to my untrained ears. Continue reading →

The Easement

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I wake up at 6:45 to pounding on my gate. Ants have infested my house and are hiding under the things sprawled on the floor. They crawl up my ankles as I unlock the front door and let Aly and Seykou into my courtyard. They go in my house to get the jug of water for my bath, and find the ants. Seykou disappears for a moment, returning with a broom, and sweeps a black squirming carpet of ants out of my house. I could lift handfuls of them off the ground if I were so inclined. The Bambara word for ant is menemene, and I smile at the resemblance to the word menace; they are well named. Later, Seukou shakes white insecticide powder over my yard to kill the ants. I’ll look up natural remedies to keep them at bay later. Continue reading →

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  • About Me:

    I am a Peace Corps Volunteer working in Mali for two years promoting sustainable agriculture and environment development.

  • Address in Mali:

    Christina Scheller
    B.P. 02
    San, Mali

    Click here for tips and information on sending letters and packages.

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  • What I’m Reading

    King Leopold's Ghost - Adam Hochschild
  • What I’ve Read

    High Tide in Tucsan - Barbara Kingsolver All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren Half the Sky - Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization - David R. Montgomery Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter The Rodale Book of Composting Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver The History of the House of Representatives - Robert Remini East of Eden - John Steinbeck Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin The Imperial Cruise - James Bradley