The Bus to Bamako and Got Shade??

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Here’s a bit from my journal about our bus ride back to Bamako:

Ozzie helped us flag down a transport bus on the main road this afternoon, and we headed back to Bamako. It was probably once a nice bus with A/C and posh seats. This country is not kind to anything clean or nice. We got loaded into 2 of the last available seats at the back of the bus. There were all sorts of people on the bus–mothers with crying babies, old men, I heard chickens under seats and the man in the back seat had a dog in a box that kept whimpering. Someone had thrown up in the aisle, which we had to step over. People had bags and goods and wares filling all the spaces. I sat next to a quiet young girl who was trying to watch the TV way up at the front (we had a speaker right over our heads). It was a very dramatic Malian TV program with lots of yelling and fighting and a bewitching girl with long straight hair, the dream of every girl here.

We had water bottles and we endured a 2 hour drive over speed bumps and stopping here and there to let people on and off. At some stops, vendors came on the bus selling things like sweet breads, hard boiled eggs or water pouches.

The first hour of the trip, we had a salesman on the bus who was trying to sell his wares. He started with bottles of a green potion that he was spraying on his head, his neck, his throat, in his mouth, and on his stomach. A cure-all. Then he went up and down the aisles spraying it on who ever wanted some. It smelled like menthol. John said, “He must be from doTERRA!” Then he had little pouches of a powder and he’d give the sales pitch, then go up and down the aisles, putting spoonfuls of the powder in people’s palms and they’d lick it up. No one bought any of those things. Then he had bars of soap and tubes of aloe vera. He finally sat down or went away or got off or something. I think he sold a couple of bars of soap.

We got into Bamako at about 4:00 and were dropped off at the place where the busses turn around to go south again. It was a crazy dirty place. We stepped off the bus by a vendor that had some animal skins on the ground that looked like cats, newly killed.
The whole trip, I watched out the window, wishing there were a way to capture this country and the sights here. It’s really unbelievable. I saw things like a large old bus filled floor to ceiling with flattened cow hides, by the hundreds. There were semi trailers piled beyond anything safe with bags of coal from the coal fields where they burn the wood. There were huge trucks filled with long-horned Brahma bulls. The main road is lined with people trying to sell things and shops and dead cars and mechanics and fruit stands and it’s all hot, tired and dirty.

Then we hailed a taxi for the ride home. The cost of the ride from Ouelessebougou was 2,000 cfa each = about $3.25 each. The ride from the bus to home was the same price for both of us, together– 2,000. Not bad for that much driving today.

We were happy to be home in our clean pleasant place.

Here are a few photos I took out the window as we went along the way today.  As you see the shade trees and umbrella stands, you get a feeling for just how important SHADE is in a hot country like this!

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Dead cats below?2019-11-25 Bus to Bamako (24)

This is the “cool” season here.  It’s only around 100 degrees every day.  This “nice” weather will last for a couple of more months, then we move into the “hot” season.

The Days for Girls Enterprise in Ouelessebougou

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Because of the medical expedition being here this week, or Days for Girls sewing team took a little break from sewing feminine hygiene kits.  Teningnini is our Enterprise leader.  She showed me the 400 Beautiful kits the ladies have made since I was here last year!  They are doing a wonderful job!

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We are planning some big distrubutions in January when Judy Hut, Executive Director of the Ouelessebougou Alliance comes to town!

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The Medical Team at Work in Ouelessebougou

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For the last several years, a team of doctors and technicians has traveled to Ouelessebougou to help with eye care.  This year’s team included Tom Johnston, a dentist.  He’s been here before and has grown to love his Malian friends.  He had 20 extractions scheduled for each day here.

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This is where the local dentist does his good work.

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We enjoy reuniting with our translator friends each year!

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This young man has been seen by the team the last 4 years.  His old glasses allow him to see.  This year he got new ones!  Mike Clayton is the expedition leader.  He is also our neighbor in Orem and he has been our faithful home teacher!

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The anesthesiology room for those having cataract surgery:

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Our son, Adam has come with this medical team twice.  Because of that, he is now in medical school, hoping to be an eye surgeon someday.

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The local eye doctors and their nurses work with our doctors.  It’s a wonderful exchange.

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People from the 25 villages we serve wait all year long for the eye expedition to arrive.  The local teams pre-screen the villagers to find those who most need surgery or glasses.  These good people wait in these long lines to be seen.

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This dear little boy had a horrible infection in his jaw bone.  He did not survive the surgery.  We were all so very sad.

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This medical team would have an incredible week in Ouelessebougou, celebrating Thanksgiving away from their families and loved ones, to be with people who needed them even more.  They did 100 cataract surgeries and fit hundreds of people with glasses.

We talk about “Lighting the World.”  Here are some who did just that this week.

On the Walk from the Hotel to the Utah Alliance Compound

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We left this hotel this morning with our few things and a gift box for an Elder in the Abidjan West Mission and we walked through the back roads of town to the Alliance compound which is near the new hospital.

Here are some typical sights from this town we love:

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Arriving at the Ouelessebougou Alliance compound (they call it the Utah Alliance here).

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We were greeted by our very dear friends, Anounou and Teningnini.  They are our Alliance staff in Ouelessebougou and we love them.  We’ve been coming here to work with them for years.

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The Alliance is adding on!  This new wing in the compound is being built now.

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There were 23 beds with nets set up for the doctors and the medical team.

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The power in Ouelessebougou has been off, so Anounou has filled many buckets and barrels with water to get the team through the week if needed.  This is the bathroom:

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The pavers are another change in the compound since last year!

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After having a granola bar for breakfast, we headed to the hospital to join the team.  We only spent today here, returning on a public bus to Bamako late this afternoon.  The medical team is staying until Saturday.  What a gift they give each year to the people of this area!

A Night in the Ouelessebougou Hotel

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We spent the night at the hotel in Ouelessebougou after visiting the Ouelessebougou Alliance compound with the team.  We had a nice freeze dried spaghetti meal with an appetizer of chips and salsa.  That sure tasted good!  There were beds and mosquito nets for 23 at the compound.  We and a few of the translators stayed at this lovely hotel.

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There were just a few things we forgot to pack.  Sheets.  Pillowcases.  Towels.  Toilet paper.  Soap.  We did have a bed and a mosquito net, and complimentary flip flops for the shower that was over the toilet.

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My tote bag is a reminder of our other life in another place.

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The potty pot is what is used in place of toilet paper in traditional Malian bathrooms.  I found some tissues in the bottom of my tote.

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One think we did think to pack for tonight:  Benadryl.  And we had a bottle of water.  We got a bit of sleep.

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More of the Eye Expedition Team Arrives in Bamako

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This afternoon after church we went with our expedition visitors in the bus to the airport to pick up the rest of their arriving group.  These last 16 were held up for an extra day in Paris because of mechanical problems.  They were happy to finally get their feet on Malian soil!  They came with more than 60 totes of medical equipment, glasses and supplies for their week’s stay in Ouelessebougou.  All put one tote arrived safely and we loaded everything into Ouesman’s bus for the 1 hour and 45 min drive south to Ouelessebougou.

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Some of the team members are here for the first time, some have been here several times before.  All are in for a wonderful treat with the good people here.

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Church in Bamako

 

This week a medical expedition arrived from Utah, heading to Ouelessebougou to do eye surgeries and dental work.  A few came a few days ago to help set things up.  A few more arrived last night and the rest arrived this afternoon.  We were joined by several of them at church today, which was a real treat!  Elder Lewis and I have joined this group many times on their trips to Ouelessebougou.  They do wonderful work here!  Many of them are associated with the Utah Valley Eye Clinic and others are their friends.

Here are some of our members and friends attending today:

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Soeur Lewis, Miriam and Soeur Mbaya
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The Mybayas
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Ibrahima and his wife, Miriam with Fatumata
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Soeur Lewis with Valerie
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Elders Usoh, Oulai, Sulu and Tshiamala
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Romaric Kouakou and Elder Oulai
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Elder Tshiamala, Romaric and Elder Oulai

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Rose Albert and Ibrahima Ouatarro

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