MALI: People
One of the beautiful things about Mali is that the different peoples of the
country continue to hold on to their culture and traditions.  This is not always
evident in other West African nations in which western dress and music tend
to be the fad.
Fula women coming to Market in Banani
This is the Ogon of Ibi and his advisor.  Ogons are the spiritual leaders of the village.  In villages where most
of the people have moved off the cliff to the valley, the Ogon is the only one who remains in the old dwellings.  
He stays there alone with his wife or a care taker and performs animist rituals for the villagers.  He is often
the eldest from a specific "ogon" family.
 
Dogon shepards and herders ........ I personnly like the old man with the sheep.   Is it interesting how much
animals can look like their masters
In 1999, Ben, Katie and I took the Southern half of the cliffs, starting at Djiguibombo (I love saying that)
coming out at Sanga.  This time, through suggestions by Mac whose been living in Mali for more than 40
yrs., I decided to hike along the northern half. And, I am glad I did.   In most of the southern villages the
people have moved down in the valley.  The cliff dwellings are essentially deserted, kept up for the sake
of tourist and the ogon.  The people in the north have been less affected by outside forces such as
Christianity and Islam and people also continue to live on the cliffs.  

What was my trip? -- you ask.   When I was in Severe I called up a guide in Koro, who was suggested to
me by some Peace Corps volunteers, to meet in Banjdagara.  Over a nice warm coke we set up our six
day (5 nights) trip.  The plan was to hire a taxi  to go to Sanga that morning, climb down the cliffs to
Banini (there are waterfalls during the raining season) eat lunch and continue 15 k north to Yougahah
where we'd spend the night.  The next day we hiked along an outcropping to see Youga-dourou and
Yougapin, after lunch we'd walk back south to Ibi where we stayed the night.  Day three we spent the
night in Ileri stopping for lunch and tea in Neni.  Day 4 was a short day we spent lunch and dinner in
Tireli.  Continuing on the fifth day we spent the morning and lunch under a breezy mango orchard that
straddled a creek at Yeleli Na before climbing up and over the cliff to Nombori.  On the morning of day six
we climb up the cliffs again to Dourou where we picked up our taxi back to Banjdagara.