Agence Future Travel log 3.6: Africa - Bamako
The road from Kayes to Bamako is notoriously bad. We had foreseen we might have to take the train but were offered a ride to Bamako in a 4x4 jeep with a driver of the company that was placing the electricity lines of the Manantali dam. It was a long and extremely bumpy drive with five people in a small jeep, the bikes and luggage on the roofrack.
Bamako was our second West African capital. It looks as if it is in a worse state than Dakar. Whole makeshift cardboard neighbourhoods were being torn down to make new cleaner looking streets for when the African football championships will take place in December. The area in which vegetables and fruit are being grown borders on one of the two busiest roads of the town and on all other sides it is bordered by refuse, long stretches of heaps of plastic, tins and tires.
Once in Bamako, we stayed with a Senegalese couple, acquaintances of Joep and Lieve. They were quite well off and fed us until our stomachs were full and all our features well round.
By way of experiment we took a Malinese internet account and learned how difficult these things can still be (Mali is one of the countries with the least phonelines per inhabitant in the whole world). In one of the internet cafes we met an American business man and his Dutch consultant who wanted to make changes to this situation.
I also visited the School for Engineers and interviewed the director and his secretary. They talked about the need for better infrastuctural work and engineering adapted to the circumstances that prevail in Mali, rather than based on copies of European work. I visited the Belgian consul for international cooperation who explained what kinds of projects Belgium supports in Mali and what the practical and administrative difficulties of his post are.
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