April 2014, English
In April I visited my family in Holland. Normally that’s a good time to leave Mali for a bit since the real heat should have started. This year it was still not so bad in April, but on the first of that month I drove towards Bamako to catch a plane on the third towards Amsterdam.
I left Geert and Ola behind. Two Dutch motorbike riders who had decided to stay another day or ten, since they liked it so much at Cool Camp. Found out that there was something seriously wrong with these two only when I returned at the end of the month. Even carried a 10kg package for them to Holland, how stupidly trusting of me.
The flight and my visit to Holland was very agreeable. Its always nice to see my family and friends, although did not have time to visit all. Its only three weeks. My father was in Holland and I had not seen him in years, so it was good to meet and catch up. He is struggling with his health, specially his leg which broke about a year ago.
Its sad to see someone who’s body does not want to cooperate while the mind is still good. A faith which awaits us all.
Even had a visit from Kathy and Rick, two die hard American travellers. We spend a nice day and a great evening together.
For my return flight it was the usual fight with the luggage kilo’s. Want to take along so much, but having to pay excess luggage charges is like throwing away money. Mr airline loves this, but I do not. After leaving lots behind I arrived at the airport with two suitcases cramped with 23.5 and 22.8 kilo respectively. Nicely within limits. Of course i did not tell them my handluggage was more then the 10 kilo allowed.
The flight back was quick and without problems. Walked so fast through customs in Bamako that they did not even see me.
Back in Manantali some unexpected problems awaited. Geert and Ola, had left like thieves in the night without paying their bill. They had camped for three weeks, drank my beer, took the eggs from my chicken, ate away halve my vegetable garden. Had helped them when they was both sick, even let them use my hut to shower and use the toilet. Took a package for them across half the world, and that’s the thanks you get. They even managed to steel my solar light which I lent them.
I find it sickly childish and very very rude. Ola and Geert Rijmenam, I wish you unhappy travels with lots of breakdowns and problems. Might just call the Boka Harram that you are on the way.
So any other lodging place on the way to south Africa that I have not already written, watch out for these to charlatans. They talk nice, but are just two criminals. If you as a traveller see two big motorbikes with yellow Dutch license plate, please let go of your steering wheel and look the other way for a jiffy.
The second surprise was that the water supply company had decided, in all of her African wisdom, to cut the water supply to all gardens on this side of the river. Without checking anything. The order came from Bamako. New manager, new policy.
Set up a meeting with all people on this side of the river. We decided to send a letter to Mr new-director. The end of that you will hear next month, assuming there is an end of course.
Third nasty surprise was that my campsite and vegetable garden was very badly maintained. In the four weeks of absence they managed to kill most of my papaya trees, dry out many banana trees and failed to water some of my new plants. The oranges from my orange tree had disappeared even though they were not ready, my two young apple trees had died, some flowers had shrunk in size. You can imagine that I was not happy at all.
Fourth surprise was that the guy who had bought my land (the land which gave so many problems with the mayor) had payed half but could not meet the payment of the other half at the end of the month. Long sob stories of course, and he promised to pay, but I have my doubts. At least he had maintained the land properly so if in the end he cannot pay at least I have the security of the land.
So kept busy the last few days of April with the instruction of the plant watering, cleaning up the mess in the campsite, the unpacking of my luggage and dusting off the layers of fine dust which had accumulated in my house.
April came and was gone…
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