Quiet and safe camping in the west of Mali
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Januari 2014 (English)

January 2014 English

I started writing my experiences in January to late, hence I do not remember all the details. So have to describe it globally.

January was a busy month, just like December. The finishing touches on the garden for the woman and the construction of the school still took some valuable time. Cees and Addie from Holland came to visit, to inspect the school. It was really their project, I just helped in building it.
Drove down to Bamako in the beginning of January to pick them up, of course combining it with other things to do in Bamako. The trip, to Bamako and back, including the busy time there, is very exhausting. Panting like a dog I returned 4 days later in Manantali.
But no rest. Still had to find a suitable person to water all the plants, trees and flowers. For now ,but specially for my trip to the Netherlands in April. In these hot months, not watering one day, is almost fatal, two days no water is certain death. So needed to find somebody I could trust. Already tried 3 people but they all liked money more then work, or kept forgetting things.
Each person needs time to prove himself. So you need to train them, keep an eye or two on them and this costs a lot of time.
Also some tourist dropped in. The French-Maliën for example, who came from Bamako. Although I explained to him that there’s no food facilities here, he kept demanding food, coffee, water, extra blankets, sugar, salt and so on. He called me every 5 minutes with something. For this guy only I must have walked 5 km up and down.
Less demanding are the overlanders who visited. There where some Dutch, some German, and a delegation from the Dutch embassy.

Also spend a few days with Cees and Addie of course. The local villages had organised a huge party for them, complete with dance, tamtam and a lot of speeches from local VIP people. That was very nice. We went to visit some local schools and inspected their state.
I had recently acquired a hectare of land on the river side, a few km away. Hired some people to build a local fence to keep animals out since I had banana, mango and orange trees on the property. Installed a watering system.

At the end of January the Mayor had heard of the additional land on the river side. I had not informed him (and why should I). But he took it as an insult and informed me that it was not normal that I had acquired that property. I asked him what the problem was. The transaction was normal and none of his business, but he summoned me to come to the town hall and discuss it. Since his reaction was rather rude, I refused. Told him I had no time today and left him standing.
An hour later he came to my campsite with a summons. I was to appear at the town hall in 30 minutes. I found it all rather strange, but appeared at town hall a little later.

The sous-prefect was called, and in a meeting with the Mayor, the sous-prefect and the secretary, I was told that I could not buy any land anymore, and I had to return the land to the previous owner. The reasons given where a load off bullshit. I would deny access to the river for local people. I had not informed the local government. More of these kinds of arguments. The three talked to me in fast and technical French and I had a hard time responding, anything I said was countered with words as ‘ its the law, its not normal, you cannot do that.
Since I did not want a war with the Malian government I told him I would return the land as requested, I had no great use for it anyway. Still it left me with a bad feeling, I could not understand why he was so angry and what his real reasons were.
Returning to the guy I bought the property from, he also did not understand the whole situation. He claimed already to have spent the money I had given him, so he would not be able to take the land back. He would talk to the mayor and come back to me.
This took a few days, since the guy in question has a shop and could not leave any time he wanted, in the meantime my head kept spinning and I could not comprehend.
All this played around the end of the month, so in my next month’s story I shall continue on this subject.
At the end of the month Cees and Addie left. They were brave and took the local bus to Bamako. Their journey, as was their flight back to Holland, went well

Well, that was all for January really. I know I am late posting this, hope to be a bit more on time next month

for now, greet greetings from magnificent Mali

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