Something that I had anticipated for a long time now has finally been concluded.  I shall probably never again return to Mali; the country where I have worked in, on and off, between June 2006 and April 2011.  Until this week, there was always the marginal possibility of returning for another field season.  However, recent events in the country – conspiring with the general attitude of the management of the company we work for – have lead us to resign.

Big News, hey?!

It was quite an irony that on the day of the Mali Coup (22nd March) – my husband was out of town attending an interview for another job.  He got it – and soon we shall be moving home.  I shall reveal all in a future post, but for now – all I will say is that I am excited about this move to a city that few geologists would ever get the chance to call “home”.  For anyone who knows the exclamation “like-hey-shoo-wow!” – that should be a giveaway!

It’s prompted me to go through the archives.  I noticed that there were quite a few scenes that I hadn’t yet shared with you on this blog.  Not the best quality photos, to be sure; many of them were snapped whilst moving – grabbing the opportunity as it presented itself.  This is raw.  This is pretty much as you see it in Africa!

This post focuses on “Memories on the Road”.

When we drove to our field camps from Bamako, it never took less than 4hours.  For much of the duration we were in Mali there were road-works that prolonged the journey.  Occasionally there were a few curious sights along the way that made it a little more interesting – mostly cases of well-packed and thoroughly overloaded vehicles.  Otherwise it was a long, hot, dusty and boring trip.

Old Peugeots were clearly favourites for the wood stacking.

I cannot look at this next photograph without thinking of Fergie singing “My Hump, My Hump, My Hump – check it out”

Number 14 is a passenger riding pillion on a scooter – with a full-grown ram on his lap.  Not altogether an unusual sight…

A hind quarter of cow in transit (with head neatly tucked in behind driver) was also not entirely unexpected…

There are always breakdowns; no red triangles around here, though.  You just have to keep your eyes peeled for cut branches leading up to whatever stricken vehicle has succumbed to road-stress.

For all previous posts on Mali – click here