Bamako, Mali

When it comes to fixing something in Mali, everyone dives right in – regardless of age. Here in the capital, Bamako, young men and boys transform the shell of a yellow car into a working taxi again. Their workplace is as lively as their work style – open-aired, free, full of laughter. Music blares from a nearby radio as city traffic roars in the background. The taxi, once repaired, will again travel the streets of Bamako, adding to the cacophony of trucks, cars, motorbikes, and donkey carts. Such, of course, is city life. Here, though, at this moment, it is the sound of laughter that catches the ear.
Photo © 1983 Ahn Ly


Mali/République du Mali
Landlocked, West Africa, southwest of Algeria, north of Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire & Burkina Faso, west of Niger. Mostly flat to rolling plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills north­east. 1,240,192 km2 (slightly < 2 x TX), 4% arable.

Capital Bamako (1.8M)

Population 14.5M (11.7/km2)

Life expectancy 53 years


Literacy 46%

Lang(s) French OFFICIAL, Bambara 80%, many other African languages

Religions Muslim 90%, Christian 1%, indigenous beliefs 9%

Ethnic Groups Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%

Gov’t Republic, coup in 2012

GDP/cap $1,300

PCVs 1971-present; micro-enterprise, food production, water availability, environmental conser­vation, preventive health care, water sanitation and HIV/AIDS. Volunteers in country: 165; total to date: 2,555.

Nat’l holiday Independence Day, 22 September (1960)

indigenous design from Mali

From mud cloth design. Dogon region.
Copyright © Julie Olsen

Map of the world

Focus word for 2012 - "Friendship"

Bambara: Teriya (the-ree-YAH)


Bamako, Abderrahmane Sissako (2006)


Monique and the Mango Rain: two years with a Midwife in Mali
by Kris Holloway and John Bidwell
Book Description
Published in 2007, this memoir tells the story of Holloway's experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village in Mali in the early 1990s, and her friendship with a local midwife Monique Dembele.

Kids' Books

Mansa Musa: the lion of Mali
by Khephra Burns
Publisher: San Diego: Gulliver Books/Harcourt, c2001
ISBN-10: 0-15-200375-4
Ages 8-12