Thursday, September 14, 2006

Women in Mali don't ride bicycles.
This lady comes from Burkina Faso, and there they do.
I tried to find out from Rachel, my only female friend in Djenne, why this is. She couldn't shed any light on it, but assured me that it would be quite impossible for her to ride a bicycle from her home to the hotel, where I hope to employ her as my receptionist. 'Just look around', she said. 'Do you see any women on bicycles in Djenne?' I had to admit that she was right. The only women ever seen on bicycles would be myself and the other toubab, my friend Ariel, the Peace Corps volunteer.
'But why not, Rachel? it is perfect for Djenne! You only need to cycle for 5 minutes and you would be there!'
Rachel was getting quite hot under the collar by this stage. She replied, crisply: ' I have not researched the reasons in depth, but I know there are some good reasons'. We leave it at that.
Malians have a tendency to speak for the entire Malian nation: 'We don't do that here' or 'We do this in Mali'. This can be quite alien and puzzling for a European who is used to infinite choice and freedom to do and think as we please.
While on the subject of transport..... Posted by Picasa


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