Trees make the best boyfriends

avatar

by Cynthia Vukets on April 1, 2010

My new best friendMy new best friend

My new best friend is a tree.

A baobab, to be specific.

We met while hiking in Mali. He’s a lot older than me, but we just seemed to really get along.

I’m in Dogon Country with a girlfriend who’s been working in Mali. It’s strange how you get used to a place and all it’s little quirks. I’d been going happily along, researching stories on poverty in the slums of Nairobi and on teen sexuality in rural Maasailand thinking ‘Kenya sure has a long way to go.’

Back to the hiking trip. We spent two days strolling from village to village, as if in another universe. All the buildings are made of mud. All the toilets are just holes in the ground. All the beer has to be transported in on the heads of local women.

For me, it was amazing to be able to just walk. The only trips I’d done into such rural areas had either involved working or dangerous animals so I’d been basically confined to vehicles. But I walked for miles; we saw only about 5 other tourists the whole time. And when we did we looked at them with disgust ‘what are you doing here? This is our private trip back in time.’

Women stir pots of honey "beer" at an outdoor market

Women stir pots of honey "beer" at an outdoor market

Which is always the traveller’s dilemma. You never want anyone else to have the cool experiences you’ve had, so that you can tell cool stories at the pub. But then, the ladies who are carrying the beer into the villages on their heads, they deserve people to sell it to. Because this is a great tourist offering. If Mali could only market it a bit, I’m sure people could make real money. But how long until you can do the hike in a Land Rover? Or until the little girls ask for money instead of just wanting to hold your hand? Or until you can get sushi delivered to your rooftop bed?

But back to the baobab. We spent the night in a village. No electricity. But a wonderful outdoor shower with holes in the roof so you could see the stars. And the stars! I have never seen so many, or had them seem so close. So after dinner, we trooped out of our hut into the village square to stargaze. I found my tree, hunkered down into a very comfortable “seat” in his roots and gazed. Best date I’ve ever been on.

Dogon women carry firewood on their heads down the Bandiagara Escarpment. It's the same way they bring beer into their villages for tourists to drink

Dogon women carry firewood on their heads down the Bandiagara Escarpment. It's the same way they bring beer into their villages for tourists to drink

{ 1 trackback }

Latest Best Webhost Auctions | World online hosting review
04.01.10 at 6:27 pm

Comments on this entry are closed.