|Today we drove from Sevare to Segou, in the central region of Mali. The Dogon villages gave way to Bobo villages, similar in style with granaries as the Bobo are farmers who grow millet, sorghum and maize and also watermelons - it must have been watermelon time as the villages were lined with sellers and piles of huge watermelons.
The Bobo also keep herds of dogs - for eating! They are not averse to eating the odd human either (and keeping selected parts for fetishes for their ceremonies!), and even last year a forestry worker disappeared without a trace. His children heard people talking in the market about eating him and called the police, who investigated but no charges were laid. The Bobo are another tribe who practice female circumcision.
Segou is a former French colonial town and has many avenues of shady trees, giving it a laid-back feel. It is on the banks of the Niger River which is one of the main rivers in Africa.
After checking into our hotel, Hotel de l'Independence which is a beautiful old French building with an outdoor restaurant under the trees, we visited the mud cloth workshop nearby to see how they make the bogolan cloth. The cotton is first dyed with natural dyes - leaves produce a yellow colour or blue if they are using indigo, and bark dyes the cloth brown - then designs painted on the cloth in mud from the Niger River. This produces black designs, but they also paint with potash to give white. The cloth is beautiful with traditional and also modern designs. The workshop exports to Europe and Japan, but not to Australia - there's an opening for some enterprising person!
After the workshop we drove to the river for a walk and watched locals selling tomatoes on the river bank, then back to the hotel for a swim in the pool and dinner under the trees.