Saturday, September 26, 2009

Getting Settled in Mali

Greetings from Mali! I arrived a couple weeks ago, and my time since has been filled with an assortment of introductions, visits, and briefings as I get acquainted to my new surroundings of Bamako, the capital. All that has included some intensive Bambara language training, which I'm trying to tackle hard in these first months. French is the official language in Mali, but local language definitely plays a more predominant role than it did in Benin.

My job assignment in Mali will be defined more clearly as the first months here progress, but my major work partner is a new Malian company called Karite Mali ( As a refiner, marketer, and exporter of Malian shea butter, Karis+ should fill an important gap in the local value chain. Hopefully this will render Malian butter more competative (better quality and price) in international markets, and bring more business and revenu for the women producer groups Karis+ partners with.

Here are some pics from a couple recent sightseeing outings. By the way, w/ much of sahelian West Africa, Mali's had an exceptional ammount of rainfall this year, which explains how green everything is!