ESL Eco Blog

The daily grind in Mali

Whilst we have taken delight in the sun which has been missing so much these last weeks, in Bamako, where Daniel Robert is, they would rather wish for coolness.

We remind you that our friend had travelled to Mali in order to receive the container we had filled, a few weeks ago, with material destined for the students of the Bahadou school in Timbuktu. His plans as much as ours have nevertheless been disrupted by the delay caused by the customs and port formalities in Dakar.

Here’s what Daniel Robert communicated to us by e-mail last week:

As to the container, I have abandoned the idea of seeing it again before my return on 3rd June, of having a party and of giving a class to the teachers on new material for learning how to read. It will have to wait until October/November.


In a message which arrived to us these last few days, Daniel Robert sketches an interesting portrait of the Dakar-Bamako railway line. No doubt, we wouldn’t have been able to send our gift by train!


The train connecting Dakar to Bamako is called the Dakar-Niger and the line ends 80km further east of Bamako.

The reason is simple. The Niger is wide and navigable before Bamako, then, in the Sotuba region, large riprap hinders all navigation. It is only 80km further that is again passable and it is therefore there, in Koulikoro, that large boats await travellers and merchandise.

In Sotuba, there is a ford for cars, with passage possible as long as the Niger is not too high. Currently, work has begun to build a third bridge in this place.

I attach a photo of the Dakar-Niger which is playing its siren loudly on crossing the town and some markets ; the sound is characteristic of Bamako.

I am going to back up to the Dogon Country as my plane didn’t stop there. Archeologists are making intelligent excavations that are protected from all exportation. We’ll talk about it again.

And as for us, we are glad to have a great reporter on-site who is allowing us to experience the reality of Mali in such an explicit way.


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