Farewell Mali – Memories in the Field (Structures)

Another post in the Farewell Mali Series – as we bid adieu to the country where we have been working on and off since 2006.

This post concentrates on all the interesting structures that we regularly saw when we were out in the field. From abandoned mud villages and crop storage huts on stilts – to the curious toadstool-shaped ant hills and ablution facilities (the Malian equivalent of a port-a-loo!) – to rickety bridges; we saw it all.

Abandoned mud-huts

Crop Storage

These storage huts were used for either cotton or corn crops. The stilts were presumably to ensure the crops weren’t spoiled by the rising water table during the rainy season and to keep the crop safe from marauding goats.

More storage facilities

Field of ant hills

The ant hills were amazing structures.  After each rainy season, busy ants would haul out the wet mud from their underground nest and deposit it in a layer on top, which looks as though it has the purpose of providing some shade too.

I notice there were no elves or gnomes sitting on these toadstools!

A perfectly shaped "toadstool"

Yes, this is a Malian port-a-loo - complete with drainage sluice... You saw it here first!

Low-lying bridge

Mali’s rainy season is between June and October.  Daily downpours revive dried out river beds and fill up small dams.  For the rest of the year the countryside is bone dry.  Out in the sticks the tracks between villages can become treacherous to our field vehicles during the rainy season – so we tend to halt work for these few months until the ground dries out a little.  There is no way that these bridge structures could handle the weight of a modern vehicle, and wading the rivers is definitely not advisable.  The locals manage to get around on donkey carts much more effectively and the bridges bear their weight with comparative ease.

They do need annual rebuilding though, much like anything else made of mud.

In need of a patch up

Want to see more of Mali? – Click here!

11 thoughts on “Farewell Mali – Memories in the Field (Structures)

  1. Those ant hills look amazing! I’ve never seen anything like that before. Are you sure they were built by ants, not aliens? 🙂 And wow! port-a-loo, Malian style! Fascinating!

    1. I’ve also never seen ant hills like this anywhere else. I’m pretty sure they aren’t alien structures… I’m not sure why they’d pick only Mali to build in 😉

  2. What a cool post! By the way, I love your new theme! I actually purchased this on the day it came out but couldn”t get the quirks fixed and became too frustrated to work through them. I really want to update my theme soon but need the time!

    1. Hi Nicole – if you have any questions about the theme, I’d be more than happy to help if/where I can. I really love it, and was lucky that my content just seemed to slot right in with the defaults. It helped that I had already selected a “featured photo” for almost every post.

      1. Oh….maybe that was the problem. Some of the boxes on front had a strange rainbow looking thing. When you say a “featured photo” do you mean the one that goes on top in place of the header on each post?

      2. Yeah – that’s the one. You have to edit each post and select a featured image (you’ll see the widget box on the lower right of your edit page). If nothing is selected it will show up as a rainbow test pic on the home page. Also, if you do happen to link/upload videos – you have to select a photo to show up as the featured image, as it doesn’t recognise the video format.

  3. Hi Lu! I know you are busy in Iceland now but I’m back at trying to fix my blog and theme. I had ordered this one before but had a hard time getting it to work. I have a few questions for you:
    1. How did you get the drop down menus on top by region? I really want to do that to my blog. Is it under pages?
    2. How did you get the photos under the “select any channel”?
    3. Finally, when I tried to preview all my writing got mixed up with the photos under the posts. Do you need to align the photos on the left instead of center?
    Did you have so many issues trying to change over to this format? Anything you read on WP that helped you fix your blog?

    Thanks Lu! hope you had fun in Iceland and you can email me directly when you have time. http://www.thirdeyemom.com

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