Thursday, September 29, 2016

Shopping at the Market

Our first stop was a small hardware store along side the road.
There are multiple small stores like this, and they mostly carry the same things.
We bought a mop and a shovel, but they didn't have much of what we need.
We decided to try another place.

While we were out, we took some time to check out some newer food stores.
This one has a wide variety of packaged cookies in addition to some basic food staples.
This was another new food store.  They have things like cornflakes and pringles.
I don't normally shop at hardware stores, but thee's one that has been a go-to for supplies recently.
We have bought brooms, a mop, floor cloths, toilet brushes, chairs, and more.
Here I'm standing in front of the hardware store with my back to the street.
This street is not paved, but is packed dirt and is too narrow for a car.
There are occasional motorcycles, but mostly foot traffic.
Caleb is checking out a chair at the hardware store.

We're heading back to the truck, which is parked at a gas station.

These are garibout boys, who you see all over town.
It's impossible to be at the market without being surrounded by a crowd of them.
They are not aggressive, but they are constantly asking for money which goes to their teacher

There's not quite enough room in the truck for the chairs we purchased,
so they have to go on top.  Ian was happy to climb right up.

After shopping, we were on our way!

Monday, September 26, 2016


One of the things I enjoy seeing around town- or in our yard- is the donkeys.
They are all over the place, usually working quite hard.
People tend to take good care of their donkeys, partly because they need them to work hard!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week in Review: Sept 18-24

During my morning exercise time, I've been able to see some beautiful sunrises.

We haven't had much about the hospital on the blog lately,
but that is where Stephen spends much of his time.
This is a 300 gram baby that was born Sunday.
She was the smallest baby Stephen has seen.

This is the waiting room of the hospital.

We started our third week of school, and our first week of co-op.
There are classes on Monday and Wednesday afternoon.
This is a middle school science class for the girls.

After a break during August and the first part of September,
Taekwondo is back in session.

There are some new students, and we are probably going to split into two classes.
One of the classes on Wednesday is Art Appreciation, which I am helping to teach.
The boys were completely uninterested, but I asked Ian to come in to help with some of the younger kids.  (The current age range is 4-14).
Once Caleb realized that Andre is in art and Ian is helping with art, he decided he wanted to join the class.  Maybe he'll develop an interest.

Ebony is still growing and is adjusting well to our new house.

Our biggest event of the week was the medical evacuation of Dr. Steven Holsenback.
He was becoming critically ill with possible Dengue fever that caused his kidneys to fail,  and he had to quickly travel back to the US.
The entire family is back in the US, and he's now recovering and resting.

The kids had a chance to say good-bye to the Holsenback kids before they left Koutiala.

Keep the Holsenback family in your prayers.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Walk to the store

Walking to the store is sort of like going through a farm- lots of animals!

On the way, we walk down the main street.
In our part of town, it's not usually very busy.

This store is also a gas station.
In the cooler outside are some cold drinks and apples.
Inside there are some basic goods, like sugar and oatmeal, as well as treats like diet coke.
The selection is random and varies all the time.

On the way home, we take the back road.
First, we walk down this lovely tree lined road.
It's nice to have a break in the shade.

The road isn't very good during the rainy season.

This little girl was very friendly!
For some reason she wanted to hold my hand all the way down the street.

More animals on the way home!
There's always something interesting to see.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week in Review: Sept 11-17

The week started with a national holiday, Tabaski.  All businesses and stores were closed on Monday, and many stayed closed Tuesday.  Some people left their stores closed through the week.

Isabelle got a her hair cut by Suzanne.
The shorter length is much cooler!

Wednesday we started moving the rest of our things to the rental house.
Much of our free time was spent trying to get things ready to move in.
There were some unpleasant surprises, but with help from our friends and teammates, we were ready to move in Saturday.

Driving across town is a bit of a challenge, especially when you leave the paved road.
I had plenty of practice this week!

We also stopped at our local ATM a couple of times.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
Our house from the front.  I've started calling it "The Castle."
It's one story behind a gated wall.  The part on top is a staircase that opens to the roof patio.

Thursday night we had supper at our local neighborhood restaurant.

We had to move inside when it started raining.

Some of the kids in the neighborhood of the guest house.

We had a mother/ daughter shopping trip to the market.  There were six of us total-
just blend with the crowd. ;)

We found lots of basins and buckets for our rental house.

Can you believe that watermelon grows in Mali?
I was surprised!
They are just coming into season, and our wonderful neighbors brought us this one.
It was delicious.

A sunrise close to our new neighborhood-
There aren't many trees or tall buildings around, and we have seen some beautiful skies.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Yesterday was Eid al-Adha, more commonly known as Tabaski.  It is the holiest Muslim day, and commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his only son.

Here in Mali, people celebrate with their family, but also take time to visit friends.  The lady shown below in the white outfit came to visit us and brought her daughter and granddaughter.  Another friend and I had given her some baked goods for her celebration, and she brought our family a leg of mutton.

People dress up in their nicest clothes, usually wearing something new.
The kids spend a lot of time walking up and down the street showing off their new duds.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week in Review: Sept 4-10

This week was moving week on many levels. We helped move some things into and rearrange the school rooms. New teammates moved to Koutiala from Burkina Faso, and we started moving things into our rental house.  Next Saturday is our goal to complete the move!

We helped move some books into the school rooms on the mission compound,
where we will be doing co-op twice a week.
We used Monday to recover from our trip and catch up on things
Isabelle managed to squeeze in quite a few projects she wanted to finish before school.

Tuesday we started school.  It was hot, and were are constant interruptions,
but we managed to get in four days of school.
Ian was sick Wednesday and Thursday, so he has some catching up to do!

I moved my morning exercise time up to 6AM to fit it in before school.
This has given me a chance to see some pretty sunrises this morning.

This man, a Taureg, bought some goods that he and his family had made.
He needed some money for the religious holiday, Tabaski, next week.
We were able to help him out with that. ;)

Isabelle and Caleb helped me carry some things back from our local store.
We're used to sharing our road with animals!

In preparation for Tabaski, there have been many sheep around.
The tradition is for each family to have at least one sheep to eat together.

Today, we moved the bigger furniture to our rental house.
It's almost ready!  We're hoping to finish the move next Saturday!

Stephen and Ian assembling beds.
For now we are borrowing furniture from guest housing.
As we have opportunity, we will replace it with our own.

Even after we move into our house, we will have quite a bit of work to do on it.
For example, this is the kitchen cabinet next to the sink.  You can see that there is still putty left behind, and the sink is still covered in a blue plastic that needs to be removed by scraping.
There will be lots of projects- big and small- as we settle in and make it our own.

One more sheep picture- just because!