September 22nd, Malian Independance Day, known simply as "vignt-deux," is THE biggest party of the year in our village. We invited two neighboring volunteers to join the festivities with us last month. The celebration begins with a soccer game in the afternoon of the 21st as people from neighboring villages flood into town. We brought in a ringer to join in the soccer game, a friend and neighboring volunteer who used to play in college. The village was extremely impressed to see a toubabu in action on the field. The eve of the 22nd, street food and dance parties in every neighborhood until dawn.
The morning of the 22nd, thanks to a well connected friend, we scored VIP seats to hear local government officials speak and watched a parade featuring tradional hunters and marchers from surrounding villages. Mid day - street food and treats not usually available at our weekly market. In the afternoon - canoe races on the Niger River, again viewed from VIP seats.
|View of the town square from our VIP seats|
|The parade begins|
|Parade marchers ready for the canoe race|
|Watermelon season begins|