Mali, Mopti, living
Mopti two years after the Malien dictatorship was ended peacefully.
This town was one of the biggest and busiest ones in Mali, but could
not expand later on, because during the raining season it is situated
on an island within a very big flooding area. The houses are nearly
all made of clay up to 3 storeys high, and inside like a labyrinth
for somebody who does not know the place. The streets of Mopti are
narrow and full of life, all people are spending their life mostly
on the street in front of their house, it is too hot inside, outside
it is already 45°C. The people of Mopti are coming from many different
tribes, of which each has traditionally a certain job in the society,
many different crafts are created every corner. Life here is dominated
by the Muslim religion (95% of the population are Muslim), every
Friday the main road is closed for the big
prayer beside the biggest Mosque.
Many children decide, or are sent by their parents, as religious
beggars on the streets, begging only for leftover food, and are
living with a Marabou (Magician and Priest) who is teaching them
the Koran, which includes Arabic reading and writing.
Mali, Mopti, market area, 1993
Mopti has beside the “island” for living also an “island” for business, which
has different markets, shops, and the port with most boats coming from Tombouctou.
On the market is not only a section for food, clothes, household stuff, fish,
salt in big blocks and firewood, but also a place for making boats. Business
(buying and selling) is the most common job all over Maliens towns, many shops
are so small, that they are carried on the head of the person selling the articles.
Money is usually spent as soon as it is earned, and they share the profit with
their family or if far from home with friends, therefore the pockets are always
empty. The family members who earn money, are giving all to the oldest male
in the family, which is responsible for the welfare of all relatives, therefore
there is no private money for individuals and nobody safes anything for his
future, not even for the next day, somebody else will share his money if one