Continental Drift

November 5, 2009

Welcome to Pig Corner

Filed under: Uncategorized — unaleona @ 3:34 pm

So, as I may have mentioned, my neighborhood here in Bamako is a peri-urban slum called Sikoroni. I still haven’t figured out what Sikoroni means, but I’m working on it.

Sikoroni (fondly known as Sikoro for short) is in between the two neighborhoods of Sourakabougou and Hippodrome Deux. Sourakabougou is even more poor than Sikoro, Hippodrome Deux slightly nicer. Our office is located in Hippodrome Deux, while the clinic we have just finished constructing is in Sourakabougou. Sourakabougou feels even less like part of the city than Sikoro does, it seems just barely carved into the craggy hills, as if you are halfway still in a rural village. This, I suppose, is because Sikoro is one of the oldest quartiers of Bamako, while Sourakabougou is relatively new. Everyone had been afraid to live in the area because of all the hyenas who roamed the hills. In Bambara Souroukou means hyena, and so it was always known as hyena town.

Considering that place name history, and the fact that this is what you see across the street from my house, what do you think our area of Sikoro is called?


Perhaps you guessed it, it’s called Pig Corner. For you Bambara speakers, that’s Le Kare.  And instead of telling taxi drivers, “It’s the green awning on the left in the middle of the block,” which is what I always say to direct them when we get close to my home in New York, I just specify “Le Kare” and taxi drivers know exactly what I mean.

In Pig Corner, I live in Hawa Gaku’s compound.  Hawa lives in a room on one side of the compound, while her son and his family live on the other side.  Her son’s name is Corkos (or perhaps that’s his last name), and his wife’s name is Fanta Simaga.  Fanta is also Alex Harsha’s Malian name.  Alex and I have rooms attached to each other in the middle of the compound.

Here’s a picture of the two Fantas:


Fanta is wearing a complète, which means a full Malian outfit, made up of a shirt, long skirt, and matching head scarf all made out of the same fabric (pagne).

Possibly the most important member of the household is Papa (at least according to him).  Papa is three and slightly devilish.  He recently managed to spill bright blue dish soap all over the entire compound, even managing to get it all over the rear end of one of our resident goats.


There are three of us toubabs (white people) in the compound, this is Madou (a.k.a. Alex) who has been here the longest.


More people live with us as well, but I don’t have pictures of everyone yet.  Here’s Nana, who is about 11, making the face that all Malians seem to make when you ask them to pose for a picture.  nana

And this is Tata, who has somehow quickly become a very dedicated friend.  She is five (doru in Bambara) and likes to donke (dance).tata

And so ends a brief introduction to the house at Pig Corner.

P.S. There are some more early attempts at taking pictures here in Mali up on the Picasa page, though I’m definitely still getting a feel of what is acceptable and what is uncomfortable photo-wise.


1 Comment »

  1. Nice pics! I see Papa is more taken with your Ray-Bans than me! 🙂

    Comment by Oli — November 7, 2009 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: