What I learned about job descriptions written by development organizations for future innocent volunteers and expats is that they simply can not be trusted. Believe me that is the honest truth. If they could be trusted nobody would really go there to work.
Sometimes it turns out to be much more than you expected and that is a very nice surprise. Sometimes however it does not come close to your original vision and your inner attitude needs immediate adjusting.
My job description said, that my house would be equipped with an outdoor shower. I thought that’s ok, it’s hot in Mali and I am just gonna be fine with that.! I am an outdoor person in any way! My inner eye saw an outdoor shower as a sort of steel or metal pipe, erected somewhere with an already established connection to a water point. My idea of an outdoor shower had been formed by the shower points in public swimming pools in Europe.
I definitely saw a nozzle or some sort of shower head at the end of that pipe. And in a way I figured there would be a certain degree of privacy. I actually did not give it much sort at all, when reading the job description. Who cares about a shower when he or she is going to a fascinating place like Mali.
What I can tell you today is that I did indeed spend a real great deal of my time outdoors – for all sort of activities. Showering took the least time.
First of all the connection to the water point was not yet established and would actually never be for the next seven years( I did not know that then, good for me). So the water was brought from the village well by means of a donkey cart. That is one of the reasons why I needed Kodjo.
Donkeys are tough animals but even they get tired. So a replacement for Egon ( the first donkey’s name was Egon) had to be there. Because no donkey – no water. Or a tired, moody donkey – also no water.
Which meant at times that there were lots of donkeys on my yard! And donkey carts and people too.
In the end I did not have only an outdoor shower but I also had an outdoor toilet.
The seat in the first picture is a later adjustment. I was benefitting from this amelioration because the director of one of the organizations responsible for the project had a knee operation and could not bend his knee anymore. So a toilet seat was added to the scenario. It has to be mentioned that this was the first toilet seat installed in Nara – although not in a conventional way as you can see in the picture!
In the beginning there was a hole in the mud floor and the famous bucket.
Same applied to the outdoor shower. There were four mud walls, a bucket but not no hole in the floor. Above me Allah’s great sky. The view was beautiful.
And since my house was standing right at the edge of a well-traveled road from the villages to Nara I got greeted frequently over the wall by travellers on camels while I was busy with some sort ” toilette”. This took a little while to get used to.
But who really cared, the girl was n Mali now!