Mali surprised us in so many ways, in diversity in beauty, variety of architecture and probably mostly in how warm and friendly the people are despite their very different cultural background, basic lifestyle and our lack of French or local language. At every police check we were met with a warm handshake and friendly greeting, at every village we were welcomed with smiles and cheers; truly an awesome people with an unfair bad reputation from a few making troubles in what is otherwise a truly great place to visit.
We limited our travels to the south of Mali due to very real danger to life in the north eastern section of the country. And the parts we visited are hardly seeing any tourists which has crippled towns that relied on tourist income. It is a very sad state of affairs and we hope it is resolved soon but few have hope that this will end soon.
Our last night in Mali was quite special, we spent it adjacent a small village where none spoke French let alone English but we were very warmly welcomed. It is doubtful if any in the village had every had an interaction with a foreigner. To make it even more interesting for them we gave the kids a frisbee (see photo); not sure what they think of foreigners now or if they use the frisbee for games or to eat off and I think their handmade football will remain their favourite toy.
Segou & Segou-Koro
General scenes from Mali