May 08, 2019
Mali is a land-locked nation in West Africa with 18 million inhabitants and 90% of them are Muslims. Mali used to be a peaceful land but since 2012 there has been unrest and conflict in the northern part of the country, stirred by Islamist militant groups. Violence and government instability have caused a rise in poverty and ethnic divisions.
However, all the tribes in Mali share a saying: “The stranger is worth more than you!” If you come as a stranger to a village, you will find a family to stay with, food and water. Even those who do not have much will share their food with a traveller. A foreigner will even get a local family name. That way they will be given a place in the society and be treated as someone belonging to the ethnic group or caste which goes with that family name.
But what really binds Mali together is the sharing of a small glass of tea several times a day. Every afternoon you will see the men gathered around a teapot in the streets, at the street corners, in front of someone’s house or outside the local shop. To make good tea is a slow process and, in the meantime, you can discuss family, politics, religion or football!
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