I have no excuse for not having written a blog for over a month, except the usual: I was busy. And this time, I really really was. It all started with our German partners and funders, who required a first interim report last month (one every month and a half), which, as you can imagine, took a long time to complete.
After that I received a visit from my mother, now on her second trip to West Africa for me. We were gone from Bamako for about a week, and I was finally able to see the rest of Mali and realise just how wonderful a country it really is. Our trip took us to Djenné, Timbuktu’s sister city and the Pays Dogon, a mystical part of the country where the Dogon people live in small villages on a rift and on the plain. Trekking through nature and meeting wonderful people helped put things into perspective. After the Pays Dogon we visited two of Mali’s bigger cities: Mopti and Segou. Back in Bamako, my mother left as the Advocacy Project’s ED Iain Guest (you all know him) arrived.
Iain elevated busy to a whole new level. The goal of Iain’s trip was to assess the project, meet the beneficiaries, talk to the team and write an evaluation report. Having Iain here meant that what I’ve been doing for the past four months had to be discussed and displayed in less than two weeks. A whirlwind of visits to our centre, the market, meetings, interviews, photographs, videos, dinners, endless conversations about the project, etcetera. We also received a much welcomed visit from our Bourem team after trying, without success, to get up to Gao ourselves.
Thanks to Iain I learned a lot about my role as Peace Fellow and how to think strategically about the project and the long term vision of the Advocacy Project, particularly in Mali. He helped me focus on the positive and let go of frustrations, particularly when they serve no purpose. The project is going very well and we are all very happy with it, but, like anything, it’s not always easy. I think I needed a power boost, and Iain’s visit certainly did the trick.
Dear AP followers, blog readers, whoever you may be, I am sorry for not having written for so long. We are running a new project here in Bamako, challenges flourish day after day, and internet isn’t always available. I have a lot to write about and I can’t wait to do so. Until then don’t forget about us. We are still in Mali, loving it more and more each day.
Posted By Giorgia Nicatore
Posted Oct 18th, 2014