Monday, August 8, 2011

I ni ce!

At long last I have received my Peace Corps assignment, and I will be returning to Mali. My welcome packet includes a good deal of information outlining the many things I might do during my service. Of course the majority of my experience will be determined by my placement location and what my partner organization is like. Naturally, I am left with lots of questions that won't be answered until I arrive in country!

For now I am focusing on keeping up with all the Peace Corps paperwork to be done (so far I need to submit an updated CV, proof of yellow fever vaccination, application for visa, application for new passport, etc.).

In addition, I'm trying to get up to speed on business and NGOs in Mali, and to study as much as possible the Bambara language. French is the official language of Mali, but the most widely spoken language is Bambara, in which about 80% of Malians can communicate. When I went to Mali in high school with buildOn we learned enough of the language to know numbers, exchange basic greetings, etc. but I remember almost none of it now. So it is both a step back in time and a new adventure to study the language again! The title of this post gets its name from one of the few Bambara expressions that never left the tip of my tongue. I ni ce means either "hello" or "thank you" depending on the context.

Over the course of the next two years I plan to use this blog to keep you updated on my life and work as I complete my Peace Corps service. Posts may be irregular at times, but hang in there! It's probably just the Malian Internet access interfering with my ability to blog.

I am eager to learn anything I can about Mali, Bambara, and the Peace Corps. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions please don't hesitate to leave a comment on my blog or contact me directly by email!