I can hardly believe that 4 months have passed by so quickly. Actually to be honest this entire year has swept by like a tornado changing the face of things in its path. This past year has seen many changes, the biggest of which has been Yeah’s political bid. The second big change has been the huge culture shock for me and the kids as we moved over and I even think for Yeah in some regards as he tried to handle a family in his environment. However the warm welcome from Yeah’s family and friends has made the move easier.
Right now Yeah is in the US trying to raise funds for the campaign. The people of Utah have been extremely kind and gracious to Yeah and his fund-raising would be impossible without the belief that Utahans have for this campaign. As he leaves for New York and DC, there are many events in store that will allow Yeah to reach out to Malians living abroad in these key cities. It is important for Yeah to reach out to these Malians that see no opportunities in their home country. The one thing that these Malians possess is knowledge of a different way of life and education that can allow them to make a marked difference in Mali, if the opportunity to do so arose. But how do you bring back an individual from one of the richest countries in the world to one of the poorest. By creating opportunities business-wise and improving living conditions. It will be essential as Yeah makes his bid known in New York and DC to show these Malians that Mali can be restored to its former wealth under the right leadership.
The time in Mali has given me the opportunity to step back from the rigor and routine of life in America. In Utah, 4 months ago, a day would have constituted getting the kids ready for daycare, getting to work, picking the kids after work, going home and crashing. Today, I feel more relaxed as I can plan my day according to my wants rather than my needs. I also have been able to spend more time with the kids and that is a definite plus. They have both taken this move extremely well. But then they say kids are more resilient than adults. They still talk about Utah a lot. They talk about seeing their Grandma Moser again or their white grandma as they call her. Keanen keeps asking me when we will go back and that is an answer I cannot give. Carmen throws an amazing tantrum every time her name and school are used in the same sentence. She says the only way she will go to daycare is if it is back in Utah with her friend Quinn. I should probably just put her in one but once they hear her screaming the day care may pay me to keep her at home. Kean is doing wonderful at school. Looking at him, I can’t believe how nervous he was just two months ago. He has made friends with a boy named Habib that grew up in London. So yes while they speak English to each other, Kean is attempting to pick up French. I am very proud of him for being so brave and adaptable.
The other nice thing is that the kids and I have found a few interesting places in Mali that in a way brings a lot of memories about America. One is them is the National Park of Mali. This is a gorgeous place that is filled with different fauna, many small eating places, clean bathrooms ( a definite must) and three large American style playgrounds. The kids simply love going there and it is a great way to spend the afternoon. My kids are huge on sand boxes and so they have a blast making sand angels. I’m afraid the park will start charging us a sand fee for all the sand we take home. The zoo is slated to open next year and boasts the same beauty that the National Park holds. I am excited to see the changes given the state of it two years ago when I came. We also found an Ice Cream place, thanks to my good friend Dianna that is very much like Baskin Robbins. Oh my goodness, the place was God sent in a country where even winter is like summer. The kids were in seventh heaven and have asked to go back almost on a daily basis.
All in all, Mali is slowly becoming more comfortable and more of a home to me and my family. Sometimes it is the small things that matter. Even our home in Bamako has become more familiar and comfortable to serve our needs here.
Here are some pictures of our home:
As we gear up for campaign months ahead, it is a hope that Yeah will continue to build the momentum he needs to win. His chances are very real with no true leader showing right now. Yeah right now is the only candidate that has not embezzled public money in the past. If anything he has given back more in terms of 13 schools built through Mali Rising Foundation, running water, solar panels, the first high school and hospital in Ouelessebougou in his role as Mayor. I have never known the man to abuse an opportunity. If given an opportunity, he can direct his country in the path of success towards a brighter future. Think of it, we as parents wish only the best for our children and as children ourselves we wish our own parents to be comfortable .It’s almost the same for Yeah who wants his motherland to succeed and wants his fellow Malians to prosper as they could if given the right opportunities.
I am excited for the campaign to reach its peak and for the dream to be realized.
October 24, 2011 at 17:07
Let me quickly introduce myself – my name is Elisabeth Jessop and I will be in Mali working on Yeah’s presidential campaign in the Spring with an internship through the Hinckley Institute of Politics. I am SO excited! I love your blog. It brought tears to my eyes when you spoke of Yeah’s love for his motherland as a mother loves her children. He is an inspiring man. I can’t wait to meet you and your family! Your home is so quaint and beautiful and your children are stunning! I would love to play in the sandbox with them sometime! I can’t wait to meet everyone in Mali – I’m certain our paths will cross many times! I love reading your updates. I’m rooting for Yeah!
October 26, 2011 at 12:25
Liz, I am excited to hear that you will be helping Yeah this Spring. Can hardly wait. I look forward to meeting you. Thank you for your kind words. Kambe Sooni ( See you soon)
October 27, 2011 at 19:52
Thank you so much for your blog, Marissa. You and the kids look so good, and it is so much fun to get a peek into your lives in Mali. I can’t believe how fast Keanan and Carmen are growing. It was wonderful to see Yeah at the Mali Rising dinner/auction. I hope the campaign will continue to go well, and that more and more people will understand what a blessing it will be for Malians if they elect him as their leader. Hugs to everyone! love, Jane Bryner
October 29, 2011 at 16:08
Jane, I am so happy to hear from you. I hope all is well with you and all your family. Keep us in your prayers as we continue this journey. I wish you could be here in Mali with us. Love Marissa
November 13, 2011 at 05:47
Glad you guys are settling in! And found a good Indian restaurant and ice cream shop…that’s amazing! Sometimes it’s the small comforts that make all the difference! Glad to hear they’re renovating the zoo! We visited it 11 years ago and it was the most depressing place we had ever been! (donkey blood and carcasses laying around where they had chainsawed them to throw in the lion’s pit, and big cats in teeny tiny cages! Maybe you should check it out before taking the kids! 🙂
November 18, 2011 at 18:12
This is wonderful. I would be living off ice cream in that land if it were readily available. Have you found it easy or difficult to keep the house clean and free of dust? I notice that everything is tiled with area rugs placed in key locations. Your kids are looking great. We need to see a few more casual pictures of you and Yeah.
November 18, 2011 at 18:24
Thats one thing I miss here. Carpet. However it would be dirty all the time if we did have it. Soon on the pics 🙂