The Great Cornholio

Somewhere along the Niger River, one and a half days cruise, by pinasse, from Mopti, headed towards Timbuktu, Mali.

…sorry, had to do it.
…of Beavis and Butthead fame for those who don’t know. See here.    

     I mean, just imagine, sailing for a day and a half through some of the least inhabited parts of the
world known to man (in my mind at least), through the desert with nary a soul in sight. Barely seeing a sign of life. No electricity, no cars, no TV’s. Hardly a smidgen, yes a smidgen, of anything to remind you of the western world. Hell, to remind you of the Industrial Revolution for that matter. Then you stop at a village on the side of the river, in the middle of nowhere, and there’s this kid running around, with her shirt over her head
and arms in the air, yelling things in a high pitch voice like she just ate a copious amount of M&M’s…

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No Butts

Taken on the Niger River somewhere in between Mopti and Timbuktu, Mali.

     This one from the top of the boat, or pinasse (I’ll explain that in a future post). Maybe the “safest”, if not the overall best place to stay on a trip up the Niger River. Why the safest? …you see the kids in the villages along the Niger River, and you’ll know what I mean. Ever have a 50 Lb. ball of smiling, almost always naked, energy  flying at you at a full force run… You’ll see. Not dangerous, per say, but a kid who doesn’t have a toy and knows that: boat full of people = toy …toy being an empty plastic bottle. Holy Smackatoly. A few hippos in the way …they don’t care. Seriously. They do not care. This shot taken from above as three of these “balls of energy” lunge into the pinasse to “explain why they should get the empty bottles”. One of the fondest memories of my trip through Mali. The kids are, simply, awesome, for lack of a better word. Balls of energy ready to explode into full sprint at the slightest hint of fun. …here they have launched themselves out of the water like three crazy dolphins, and nothing is going to stop them from acquiring a few toys before they hop back in the water.

March 5, 2008

The River

Taken on the Niger River, two days cruise from Mopti headed towards Timbuktu, Mali.

     It’s everything here, the river that is. The Niger River that is. Running through the largest and one of the harshest deserts in the world, it is truly everything. Without it, and these kids and their families are for the most part, gone. It’s life. It’s a source of food. A source of transportation. It’s the bathtub, shower, clothes washer, dish washer. Maybe the best part, as seen here, it’s the playground…

March 5, 2008

Why are You Complaining?

Somewhere along the Niger River, Mali.

What? Why are you complaining? You really think your life is so bad…

The day I started to travel is the day I realized how lucky I really am.

If this little guy can get by with just a tattered shirt and a wooden bowl, than I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

A sharing village to fill his bowl and he does not complain. It is how it is, and he gets by as well as he can.

Want the cure for complainers. Tell them to take a trip through the Sahara. If they come back complaining, their condition is incurable…

Note: Not really sure where this was taken exactly. It was a small nameless village about a day and a half down the Niger River (by pinasse), coming from Mopti, headed towards Timbuktu. A few hours past Niafunké. If you see the graveyard in the sand, you are there. The village may be gone by now…

 March 6, 2008

Welcome to Mali!!!

Niger River, somewhere in between Mopti and Timbuktu.

     One of my favorite shots from Mali, if not one of my more “technically” good photos. This one shot pretty much sums up much of Mali, as much as one shot could ever do that is. Nothing but desert as far as the eye can see, yet there in the middle of it all a river. On that river a small girl in the middle of nowhere, seemingly there to just welcome any travellers passing through. A country that is just amazing, with a people to match. If your looking for a truly worth while, adventurous and off the beaten track type of destination, I would highly recommend Mali.
                 March 4, 2008